Holiday rush pushes Pinoys to go cashless shopping online

More mobile-savvy millennials went online shopping and used cashless payments to complete their holiday gift lists in the last two months of 2017, spurred by several sale events and promotional offers from digital companies.

PayMaya COO Paolo Azzola says 2017 was a banner year for PayMaya

PayMaya COO Paolo Azzola says 2017 was a banner year for PayMaya

This was gleaned from data generated by various platforms of technology firm Voyager Innovations.

The number of unique PayMaya account holders – majority of which belong to the “millennial” category – who transacted online jumped almost three-fold in November to December from the same period last year.

This observation points to the growing number of Filipinos who are getting comfortable in digital commerce as a viable option for holiday shopping.

“While mall shopping is still the norm for most Filipinos, we saw a marked increase in online shopping among our mostly millennial user base during the 2017 holiday season,” said Paolo Azzola, chief operating officer and managing director at PayMaya Philippines. PayMaya is the digital financial services arm of Voyager.

He noted that online transactions recorded by PayMaya account holders further rose when different online marketplaces such as Lazada, Zalora and Takatack launched their big online sales in November and December, wherein PayMaya also gave its account holders an added exclusive 20% discount.

PayMaya data showed that in the last two months of 2017, online transactions via retail merchants like Lazada topped the list for PayMaya account holders.

Azzola said that the steadily growing use of cashless payment methods in online retail sites suggest that there is a noticeable shift of consumers who use alternatives such as PayMaya for their purchases, despite the availability of cash-on-delivery.

“On top of the online promo offerings, convenience and the worsening traffic in major cities are probably compelling more individuals to do their shopping online,” Azzola said, adding “consumers are also given flexibility by online merchants in terms of payment options, making online shopping a more attractive option.”

On the digital commerce front, Pinoy shoppers seem to gravitate more toward electronics products, as eight of the top ten products ordered through, Voyager’s online shopping marketplace, belonged to this category.

In terms of the kinds of items ordered online, power banks, external hard drives, Bluetooth speakers, and smart watches dominated the shopping list of consumers.

“We are seeing encouraging results as more Filipinos go online to shop, especially during special seasons. This trend has translated to record-high transaction volumes at Takatack particularly during the Singles’ Day event in November, and we expect it to continue as we move on to 2018,” explained Marc Concio, head for digital commerce at Voyager Innovations.

Adoption of digital payments and commerce has grown faster over the past two years as prepaid e-wallets regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) such as PayMaya have been introduced.

These digital wallets foster financial inclusion as any mobile phone user in the Philippines can create an account and use it for online transactions up to a certain amount limit.

Latest available data from Better than Cash Alliance as of 2013 show that 99% of all payment transactions in the country are still done via cash. Electronic payments by businesses and individuals account for 1% and 0.3%, respectively.

While this figure has most likely grown over the past year, accelerating digital payments adoption remains a top agenda for the nation.

The National Retail Payment System initiative led by the BSP and supported by banks and e-money issuers like PayMaya aims to increase cashless transactions to 20% of the total volume of payment transactions by 2020.

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