Digital transformation of local businesses could create up to P5 trillion in annual economic value by 2030, according to a new report commissioned by Google Philippines.
Of this value, P3.5 trillion could come from technologies that help businesses mitigate the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and future similar events.
The report, prepared by economists at AlphaBeta, explores eight transformative technologies and the robust economic potential they bring to Philippine industries including artificial intelligence (AI) which can be used to drive data-based public health interventions, mobile Internet to help digitize retail distribution channels, and the Internet of Things (IoT) for use in supply chain tracking.
“Digital adoption is crucial for the Philippines to unlock new opportunities and gain resilience in the post-pandemic future,” Google Philippines country director Bernadette Nacario said.
“Beyond its immediate economic impacts, the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to have long-term implications in three aspects of the Philippine economy, namely: the emergence of a hybrid workplace that supports digital freelancing; accelerating the shift towards digital payments, and severe disruptions to the business operations of small enterprises.
“By providing businesses access to global markets, equipping businesses with digital capabilities to conduct electronic transactions, and facilitating remote work, technology can help businesses manage the long-term economic implications of the Covid-19 pandemic and while staying resilient against future similar events,” Nacario said.
To fully leverage the opportunities presented by digital transformation, the report has identified three main pillars of action the Philippines could take. This includes enhancing digital skills training and education, accelerating digital adoption and innovation, as well as promoting digital trade opportunities.
While there is huge potential for the Philippines, a lot of positive work has already been done in this area within the last year.
“Through this report, we have also been able to demonstrate some ways that Google’s tools and services are already benefiting the Philippine digital economy. We are humbled that local businesses, consumers and the wider society derive over P578 billion in annual benefits, brought about through increased revenues and millions of connections online,” Nacario said.
Department of Trade and Industry secretary Ramon Lopez said digital transformation plays an important role in economic recovery as he cited Google for hastening digital in the country.
“Even before the pandemic, Google and the DTI have been digitizing small businesses through the MSME Caravan campaign and for the past two years alone, we are able to train more than 46,000 MSME business owners and their employees. We will continue to work closely with our partners from the public and private sectors to fully unlock the opportunities of our rising digital economy and empower Filipinos to succeed and grow online,” Lopez said.
One of the businesses that benefited from the digital training workshop is Germano’s Chilli, which continues to thrive until today. It started in 2008 to recreate the experience of eating chili garlic from restaurants to people’s homes. The concept was fairly new at that time and the business struggled with brand awareness.
“I remember when no stores would carry our products and I’d go home from bazaars with only three to five bottles sold. I didn’t let this experience demotivate me and I grew the business little by little, until I attended a seminar hosted by Google Philippines in 2018,” said Gerome Panlilio, owner of Germano’s Chilli.
“The seminar introduced me to the free Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) on Google Search and Maps. Through this free feature, my products became discoverable on Google Search, enhancing awareness and driving inquiries for Germano’s Chilli.
“Like everyone else, the pandemic challenged our business, but we were able to pivot and serve customers online using the knowledge and tools I got from Google’s training workshop. In fact, the export demand for my products remains stable and its sales continue to perform well in major supermarkets,” Panlilio said.
Before the pandemic, Germano’s Chilli’s online sales only peaked at 3%. In the past year and a half, it increased to 15%. Panlilio is also using Business Profile to closely communicate with his customers abroad.
“Last August, I had a shipment to the UK but due to pandemic-related logistical problems, the shipment got delayed and is still in transit to date. Thankfully, my customers are able to reach me via Business Profile to get updates about the stocks’ delivery status and even order from me directly,” he said.