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Filipinos still prefer in-store shopping over online sites

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FILIPINO consumers still prefer shopping in brick and mortar stores over online platforms, favoring the physical appeal of products despite the convenience of online purchases, according to a study by digital research and consulting firm, Research and Tech Lab (RTL).

RTL recorded the sentiments of online shoppers from July to September, which coincided with the sale promo of leading e-commerce sites Lazada and Shopee. Here, the company found that 68.61% of Filipinos still favor traditional shopping.

“The data revealed that although shoppers are drawn to the appeal of purchasing online for reasons such as no checkout queues, 24/7 access to stores, and available reviews for products, many are still wary of site legitimacy,” RTL said in a statement.

Filipino shoppers also prefer inspecting the products themselves before making a purchase, while others factored in the cost of shipping and the length of delivery time.

RTL noted that Filipinos feel more assured when they examine the products before checkout, while being able to take the item immediately after payment gives them peace of mind.

The research firm’s study also revealed that majority of shoppers who use both online and traditional platforms are aged 18 to 31 years. While preferring to see the products for themselves, shoppers were found to be searching for products online before buying them in physical stores.




“Nowadays technology has changed the shopper’s journey by blurring lines and creating new stages where buyers can easily switch channels from online to offline — searching online to buy offline and vice versa. The use of more than one channel has given Filipino buyers more opportunities that go beyond the traditional,” RTL said.

The research firm also saw mixed sentiments for food delivery apps such as Honest Bee and Food Panda, where customers lauded promotions and discounts, a wide range of restaurant selections, and fast delivery. Meanwhile, complaints ranged from poor customer service, cancelled orders, to orders that were already paid for but were not received.

Filipinos’ preference of brick and mortar stores comes amid the so-called retail apocalypse seen in the United States and some parts of Europe. Bloomberg reported last April that US store closures slated for this year reached 77 million square feet. A separate report by Credit Suisse last year noted that 20-25% of American malls are expected to close within the next five years.

“For now, it is safe to say that malls still play an integral part in the life of a Filipino consumer as traditional shopping remains their mode of choice,” RTL said. — Arra B. Francia

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