FILIPINO shoppers rely on product ratings and recommendations of their friends when buying goods via social-media platforms, according to a Taiwan-based Artificial Intelligence-driven solutions provider.

Based on iKala’s Social Commerce Report 2021, the majority or 86 percent of Filipinos rely on ratings and reviews and 56 percent rely on opinions from friends and family.

The data also showed 44 percent rely on official information on the company web site while 35 percent rely on influencers; and 33 percent, on customer support. Only 5 percent of Filipinos do not gather information prior to purchasing on social media.

“Value-for-money is a top priority for consumers in Southeast Asia, which is why they’re much more intentional about their purchases and tend to seek the best deals for a planned purchase,” the report stated.

Compared to other Asean countries included in the study, the Philippines is the most reliant on ratings and reviews and opinions of friends and family.

Meanwhile, the goods that Filipinos buy on social media are composed mostly of clothes, apparel and accessories at 79 percent. This is followed by household goods and homeware, as well as health and beauty products bought by 56 percent of consumers.

Over 51 percent of consumers buy electronics and appliances on social media while 41 percent purchase food and beverage and 26 percent buy groceries. Only 16 percent of Filipinos bought furniture.

“A big reason for this is on-again-off-again lockdowns in the region, which prompted people to go online for their essentials—but it’s a trend that’s here to stay,” the study stated.

iKala said in a statement that while e-commerce remained the preferred channel for shoppers in Southeast Asia, social commerce is becoming popular.

Regional data showed that as many as 42 percent of total shoppers said they use social media to make purchases 1-2 times per month and 35 percent use it to shop more than 3 times a month.

Social commerce’s success goes beyond frequency, too, with revenue per order up 88 percent during the period. This means consumers aren’t just shopping more, they’re also spending more on each order.

“Southeast Asia already has some of the most avid social-media users in the world, and spurred by the pandemic, they’ve taken to social platforms for their shopping needs at an exhilarating pace. Even as brick-and-mortar reopens, it’s become clear that social commerce is not a phase—the ease, convenience and accessibility of this format has earned it a permanent place in the way this region shops,” said Sega Cheng, co-founder and CEO, iKala.

The report is based on a survey of 1,600 social shoppers and more than 23,600 business customers (social sellers) across Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore, conducted in Q1 and Q2 2021.

iKala said since the pandemic, the company has witnessed 500-percent growth in usage of its AI commerce solutions in Southeast Asia, and now supports over 172,000 businesses across the region.





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