According to the Philippines trade department, the number of registered online business increased to 75, 876 as of September 2, from 1,753 in January to March 15. Transactions handled by e-commerce platforms like Lazada and Shopee also exploded during the lockdown. In contrast, physical shops are being closed due to the pandemic. Colliers international expects the vacancy rate in Metro Manila’s malls to rise from 9.8% last year to 14% this year, matching 1999 in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis. The capital rents in shopping malls are concentrated to decrease by 10%, and Bondoc said that new mall openings would likely be pushed back or delayed. Meanwhile, some retailers shut permanently due to a fall in sale by 80%. The increase in vaccines is already prompting malls to rethink business models with an eye on e-commerce, stated by Cliff Venzon (2020)
It is relevant to the present study to bring physical stores into the e-commerce world to retain retailers and prevent them from closing down shops for good.
As stated by the World Bank 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic emphasizes the importance of digitalization for economic and social resilience. COVID-19 is controlling mobility and economic activity around the world, and the Philippines is no exception. As mobility is limited, and social distancing measures limit face-to-face interactions and activities, the availability of affordable digital technologies has surfaced as a key factor of resilience. Indeed, digital technologies allow businesses, the government, and schools to pursue operations online rather than completely shutting down.
The Philippines is now catching up its southeast Asian peers in terms of digital adaptations, particularly since e-commerce and digital services were not as accessible in the country, according to Robert Cameron 2020. The data shows that the Philippines experienced the highest increase in shopping apps usage by 53% in Southeast Asia. The total sessions in shopping apps in the country reached 4.9 billion, adding that is expected that e-commerce in countries that go through strict social distancing measures experienced growth in mobile app usage/downloads.
It applies to the present research to see how much e-commerce increased its growth percentage amid this pandemic. Though the Philippines may not be tech-savvy like other countries, e-commerce players are now adapting to the unexpected pandemic.