Study: Pinoys starting to embrace cashless payment, digital shopping

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A new report from financial services firm Visa has uncovered three key trends emerging in Filipino payment behaviors as the shift towards digital became obvious as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dan Wolbert, Visa country manager for the Philippines and Guam

In the 2020 Philippines Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes study conducted in August and September last year, it was revealed that Filipino consumers have become accustomed to e-commerce.

In fact, 1 in 2 Filipinos made their first foray into online shopping in 2020 and 93 percent of Filipino consumers increased their online shopping activities via websites and apps that same year.

The study also showed that 7 out of 10 Filipinos were shopping more on social media channels compared to websites and apps. In addition, it showed that 61 percent of Filipinos have actually been patronizing online, home-based businesses compared to the 53 percent that shop in large online marketplaces.

The third and last trend was the undeniable growth in delivery services utilization due to the rise in e-commerce. 67 percent of Filipinos were shown to have increased their usage of home delivery services during the pandemic.

“The pandemic has transformed the way Filipinos shop and pay. Based on the latest highlights from our annual Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes study, we see adoption of new consumer behaviors,” said Dan Wolbert, Visa country manager for the Philippines and Guam.

Aside from the three trends, Visa spotlighted another Filipino payment behavior worth tracking. Namely, the decrease in cash payments and the surge in cashless payments.

Before the pandemic, 7 out of 10 Filipinos preferred paying in cash. During the pandemic, only 5 out of 10 Filipinos preferred this payment method. Some Filipinos even believe that certain payment categories like bills payments, grocery shopping, and online travel can become completely cashless.

There were several reasons cited for this movement towards cashless. Filipinos brought up their increased usage of contactless payments including mobile e-wallets, the potential spread of infection from using cash, and the wider acceptance of cashless payments during the pandemic as the reasons they have decreased their cash usage.

Moreover, Filipinos believe that one of the main benefits of going cashless is that it will help curb Covid-19 infections in the country. Other advantages of going cashless include the convenience, the ease of tracking financial activity, and the lower risk of theft.

Despite the increased preference for cashless in the country, however, the Philippines is still lagging behind a few of its South East Asian neighbors in terms of digital payment adoption. For example, in Singapore, only 15 percent of the population prefer cash when making payments.

While there is still room for development, Wolbert was confident that these new Filipino consumer behaviors will only flourish after the pandemic has passed.

“We do believe that the adoption of e-commerce, the shift to digital payments, the shift to digital commerce, not only has accelerated over the past year but will continue to thrive. We believe as more people start using digital commerce and platforms, they will embrace the benefits of shopping online, which will lead to continued growth in e-commerce,” he said.

The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes study is an annual investigation concentrated on assessing consumers’ payment behaviors across Southeast Asia. The study conducted in the Philippines last year analyzed the payment behaviors of participants from different regions in the country including Metro Manila, Cebu, Cavite, Quezon, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Davao del Sur, Pampanga, Negros Occidental, Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Baguio, and Davao.

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