Online shopping and delivery of goods has surged to record heights because of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing community quarantine.
“Because of the pandemic e-commerce has grown, we have seen a 376-percent growth in total order in the first half of 2020,” said Prashant Kala, country manager of Shopback Philippines, a cashback reward program that gives users a small percentage of their purchases through the platform.
According to the data gathered from transactions through Shopback, Filipino consumers ordered 9.1 million valued at P5.6 billion in January to June, nearly five times higher than the 2.1 million orders (P1.3 billion) in the same period last year.
The platform expects sales to further accelerate in the second half of the year. “We see Shopback will do twice as much business than first half of 2020 because of upcoming sale events such as the 9.9 and 11.11, in addition to the current situation,” explained Kala.
And as consumers pivot toward online shopping, more merchants strengthen their presence. For instance, Shopback reported that from 370 partner stores in 2019, 510 are currently on board. Categories include food and groceries, health and wellness, digital goods, electronics, home essentials, fashion, travel, banks, and real estate.
Aside from necessity in time of limited movement, the growth, which Kala said was the best they have recorded yet since coming to the country in 2015, was also driven by consumers’ need for convenience.
“The behavior of the market has changed; people have also realized that convenience is a big thing,” he said.
Of the more than 20 million Shopback users in nine countries where the company is present, 4 million are from the Philippines, to which they have awarded over P200 million cashback, to date.
Kala said majority of transactions in Shopback post-COVID were for travel. But today, the platform receives more orders for food, groceries, and other household essentials.
“Because we cannot personally go outside, we wanted to make sure that the merchants and brands we partner with can deliver fast—within the day or a few days—so we can get the best service from them,” he said.
Shopback users can order food and groceries through the platform from GrabFood, foodpanda, Shopee, Lazada, Watsons, 7-Eleven, Minimart.ph, and S&R, among others.
Kala said demand for groceries and home essentials will keep surging “in the next year or two,” adding that “even home essentials are popping up.” Travel and fashion (except loungewear and sportswear), on the other hand, are expected to slow down.
“We listen to consumers,” said head of merchants Timothy Tuason. “By listening to them, we understand what they need, which is easier access to their groceries, health and wellness, and anything that can help them work from home.”
To further assist online consumers, Shopback on September 1 added a price comparison feature that allows users to compare prices of over 10,000 products on the platform and choose the best store available online.
To use Shopback, download the app, choose the preferred merchant—for example GrabFood—on the platform, place an order as is, pay, and get the cash back to your account in 24 hours. To transfer the money, link your Shopback account to your bank or GCash. The platform also rewards users who answer surveys.