We Filipinos are smartphone-obsessed. That is based on an observation of consumer finance provider Home Credit Philippines on what Filipinos normally acquire when they avail of loans.
Though this is not surprising since we practically use our smartphones for everything aside from the obvious messaging, calls and quick selfies. Filipinos even treat it as mobile computers to check or send e-mails, and for banking and payments. Thanks to smartphones, social media is easily accessible as the country topped a survey three years in a row with most time spent online.
The Filipinos’ fondness for smartphones shows itself even in the ranks of the unbanked and non-credit card holders as it is the topmost choice when they use the HCPH loan facility on purchases that include computers, appliances, furniture and cash loans.
“Smartphones are the top purchase on the retailers or stores we partnered with,” says Annica Witschard, HCPH chief executive officer. Among the smartphone brands that partnered with the company are Oppo, Samsung, Vivo, and Huawei.
Since its entry into the country in 2013, HCPH has partnered with leading retailers and manufacturers to provide in-store financing for smartphones and other goods.
HCPH has enjoyed continuous growth in sales, from a modest start of P29 million in 2013 to P4 billion in 2016 and grew further to P14 billion in 2017. It now has a 2.5 million Filipino customer base of which more than 1.5 million have active loans. Smartphone purchases figure highly on the company’s receivables of P14 billion as of the end of 2017.
In the early part of 2018 HCPH has already approved more than 800,000 new loans. The month of April is the highest performing month so far with more than 190,000 new active loans.
The company acknowledges that technology is key to its success as shown by the preference for smartphones.
“We will not be here without technology. It’s essential, without it our business model won’t be possible. I think it will play a bigger part in the future,” Witschard reiterates.
HCPH chief finance officer Zdenek Jankovsky adds, “Smartphones are very important. It makes it easier for us to communicate and reach the customers since most are buying it.”
HCPH sees further growth as it has beefed up its IT infrastructure, expanded offices and call centers, and grew its workforce to over 9,000 employees.
“From day one, our mindset was to grow big and grow fast, while changing the landscape with our financially inclusive products,” Witschard says. “Our remarkable growth and expansion in 2017 tells us that we are on track in achieving our goals. And our results in 2017 tell us that our business strategy is an effective one.”