WB survey shows most PH firms now using digital solutions

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A recent survey conducted by the World Bank (WB) revealed that almost two-thirds of Philippine companies have turned to digital solutions for sales, marketing, and payment methods to adapt to the new normal.

More than 35 percent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large firms started using social media, specialized applications or digital platforms in response to Covid-19 in addition to 23 percent having increased the use of these digital solutions.

The survey indicated that much of the uptake in digital solutions so far have focused on front-end functions such as sales, marketing, and payment methods, which are likely less complex and cheaper to implement than changes in other business functions.

In comparison, a smaller proportion of firms invested in new equipment, software, or digital solutions (23 percent), suggesting that firms have intensified the use of available digital technologies such as access to the Internet.

Apart from digital solutions, repackaging products was part of common solutions that firms took (about 40 percent of firms). 

The World Bank survey noted that the use of digital solutions was varied across sectors: electronics manufacturers (59 percent) and firms in the education sector (47 percent) were the top two most enthusiastic new adopters of digital solutions, whereas business processing operations (BPO) firms (55 percent) and accounting and legal services firms (48 percent) intensified their use of digital solutions. 

Despite a significant uptake of digital solutions, 70 percent of firms noted that less than 2 percent of their employees worked from home, mainly because the nature of work was not suited to home-based work.

Only 5 percent of firms noted that 90 percent or more of their employees worked from home. Firms in the BPO and other IT sectors were most suited to home-based work, with 20 percent of these firms reporting that 90 percent or more of their employees were working from home as of July 2020.

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