DESPITE the growth in the number of online shoppers and sellers, many Filipinos still prefer to pay and get paid using cash on delivery, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
In a recent briefing, Neda Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon presented the results of the National ICT Household Survey (NICTHS) which showed only 2 percent or 643 of survey respondents are selling online and only 8.8 percent or 3,000 respondents said they buy products online.
Most of these online sellers and shoppers still prefer to pay on a cash-on-delivery scheme instead of other digital modes of payment such as electronic wallet or online banking.
“Another big problem is that many of them preferred to be paid on a cash-on-delivery scheme. So, digital payments is still not accepted even among online retailers,” Edillon said in a presentation.
The data showed that majority or 54 percent of sampled individuals in the NICTHS said they were unaware that financial transactions can be performed online.
In terms of region, Filipinos living in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) were the most unaware that financial transactions can be made online, at 89.3 percent.
Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said the government can incentivize the use of electronic payments not only to boost e-commerce but also to prevent the spread of the coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
One of the ways to push the use of online payments is to roll out the National ID. Chua said the government’s plan to register 15 million heads of the poorest household in the national ID system will allow each household to have at least one bank account that can also be used for electronic payments.
“If the 50 percent of Filipinos don’t even know that online transaction is possible or online payment and they do have a phone, then that will incentivize the behavior toward online payment,” Chua said.
“If the people are also aware that paying in cash will spread the virus more, then they would also be more careful. So [the government cannot mandate the use of online bank accounts] but I think it is more incentivizing the use of online payments,” he explained.
Edillon said part of the ways forward in leveraging the digital economy is to bridge the digital divide by lowering barriers to entry and increasing Internet connectivity.
These efforts include maximizing the potentials of the Innovative Start Up Act and the Innovation Act which were recently passed.
Edillon cited the need for additional reforms such as amendments to the Public Service Act and Foreign Investment Act as well as the passage of the open access in data transmission bill.
She stressed the need to upgrade infrastructure, particularly the digital connectivity program—the National Broadband Program and the Free WiFi for All in Public Places and SUCs Program.
Edillon said the government must also measure the digital economy through the Census of Philippine Business and Industry (CPBI); Annual Survey of Philippine Business and Industry (ASPBI); Survey of Information and Communications Technology (SICT); Updated List of Establishments (ULE); Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES); Commission on Audit Annual Financial Reports; and Department of Information and Communications Technology.
This includes the institutionalization of satellite accounts for the digital economy; identifying goods and services and industries that are responsible in producing goods and services.
The NICTHS data showed online selling has the highest activity in Region 4A and the National Capital Region.
Most online sellers prefer to sell their products and services through social-media accounts like Facebook and Instagram.
This was followed by online sellers who prefer to sell via e-commerce mobile applications such as Lazada and Shopee. Only a small fraction of them have their own web sites.
In terms of online shoppers, the NICTHS data showed the highest number is located in NCR while the lowest were in the BARMM.
Majority of respondents (1,504) who buy products online are adults from the 18-34 age group.
This was followed by the 35-54 age bracket; 55 years old and above; and the 10-17 age group.