THE PHILIPPINES is the fastest-growing internet economy in Southeast Asia fueled by e-commerce and food delivery services, according to a report by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Co.

The e-Conomy Southeast Asia Report released on Wednesday showed the Philippines’ overall internet economy in terms of gross merchandise value (GMV) will likely reach $40 billion in value by 2025 (Read related story).

“Overall, the Philippines was the fastest- growing market in the region, driven by strict lockdowns as well as a tipping point on the adoption of certain digital services,” the report read.

The Philippines’ GMV is estimated to reach $17 billion this year, an increase of 93% from a year ago, due to government initiatives and mass digital adoption. This strong growth has also been fueled by double-digit growth in sectors such as food delivery services.

The Philippines also added 12 million new digital consumers since the pandemic started in March 2020. Of this, 63% are from non-metro areas. Majority also said they plan to continue using these services even after the pandemic.

“Pre-pandemic users — those who used the services before the pandemic — have consumed an average of 4.3 more services since the pandemic began and 95% of pandemic consumers are still consumers today. Despite rapid growth in the last 18 months, there remains significant headroom since the Philippines has the lowest digital consumer penetration in the region, with only 68% of internet users consuming online services,” the report said.

The report showed that 39% of digital merchants in the Philippines said they would not have survived the pandemic, if not for digital platforms.

“The digital adoption we’ve seen in the Philippines since last year has contributed to the accelerated growth of the country’s internet economy, magnifying its vast potential,” Google Philippines Country Director Bernadette Nacario said in a statement. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave