Struck by the hard blow of the pandemic mixed with strict health protocols and having one of the world’s longest lockdowns, this resulted in business owners losing their businesses and physical stores due to stringent restrictions. Despite this bitter result of Covid-19 affecting the lives of the people, more so the business establishments, Filipino business owners were still able to repurpose themselves in this time of crisis and explore new ventures.
Being one of the most active countries in social media. That is why it is no surprise that up to this date, the Philippines still holds the title as the “social media capital of the world” with the number of Filipinos presents online at a staggering 89 million active social media users.
In this time of the health crisis, with people trying to resist boredom, the Filipino audience saw a boom in activity on various social media platforms. And as the Philippines slowly transitions from its stringent implementation of the Covid-19 health protocols to have a gradual return to normal living, a lot of people are trying to maximize and explore the benefits from the Filipinos’ time spent online.
When you go about the malls, restaurants, supermarkets, and other boutiques here in the Philippines, you will observe that the number of people inside the mentioned establishments is always kept to a minimum as we are still battling the pandemic. But, one primary reason why Filipinos can now comfortably stay indoors without needing to visit public places is through the use of online stores.
Take for instance grocery shopping. Typically, before Covid-19, we see a lot of people in supermarkets and public markets doing their grocery shopping. But with the pandemic, people opted in using online grocery apps such as MetroMart, LazMart, Pushkart PH, and many more to do the shopping for them and as a means to cope with social distancing measures.
It has been found out by iPrice Group, Southeast Asia’s leading online shopping aggregator, that there has been a significant increase in the Philippines’ leading online groceries’ web traffic with a record high of 1.4 million visits last August 2021.
With this increase in grocery shopping online, we see no halt in its growth as the independent London-based analytics and consulting firm GlobalData Plc predicts that this is to become a 50.6-billion market by 2025.
Aside from grocery shopping, iPrice Group cited a notable rise in the usage of online shopping apps and online spending by 53% and 57%, respectively. This increase was said to be the highest among South-East Asian (SEA) countries. Additionally, the E-commerce monitor expressed this growth as a positive indication for the Philippines as the country is known for its heavy reliance on cash-based transactions. Thus, allowing it to catch up to its more developed SEA neighbors.
With the majority of Filipinos resorting to doing their shopping online amidst the health crisis, a great number of entrepreneurs and hobbyists poured their locally sourced and manufactured crafts into the online markets. According to the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), it was found out that from January to March 15, 2020, the registration of online businesses flew to the moon from 1,753 to more than 75,000 online shops by the end of August.
Additionally, based on the data by the Business Name Registration Division (BNRD) of the DTI as of September 2, 2020, it was found out that the total number of business names registered in the DTI is 712,657. This was 12% higher than those registered in 2019 recorded at 637,690.
But from these thousands and thousands of online businesses registered, browsing from all of these will surely be worth your while. From freshly baked cakes and cookies to ratan handbags. A budding Filipino entrepreneur is trying to maximize the online market and trying to make a career out of it.
By supporting these local and small businesses, operated by hobbyists and people who are looking for extra income during the pandemic, we are buying products not only helping them get by, but we are also investing in their communities as these businesses are most likely to utilize other local businesses such as banks, service providers, and locally-sourced ingredients and materials.
That is why advocating for locally-manufactured products helps in developing a strong and successful community not just in the Philippines, but even around you.
Aside from the pandemic the Philippines and the rest of the world are facing, the country has been hit hard by a gardening craze now known as the “Plantdemic”.
Wondering where this craze started? Well, nobody knows. But these plant parents locally referred to here in the Philippines as “Plantitos” and “Plantitas” for men and women respectively, mean business when it comes to their plants.
This has become a great business opportunity for some of our fellow Filipinos as the demand for greenery in households grows. More so to sellers in the plant selling industry, sending plant prices soaring.
Alvin Chingcuangco, a landscape gardener, shared his surprise at the growing level of interest in plants. He shared how the price for some varieties of plants such as the monstera reaching to as much as Php 55,000 ($1,140) each, compared to its price range during the pre-pandemic era which was around Php 800 ($17) each.
Lots of Filipinos entered the plant business during the hype and made it big. Marvin Braceros, a former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) had to close his restaurant, Yum Milano, only a year after opening because Covid-19 crippled the restaurant industry during the lockdown. But, being a Plantito since his early 20s, he thought of putting up a plant business instead. He named his plant shop Respira, an Italian word meaning “to breathe.” Which is located at the Century City Mall store, Makati City. Now, Marvin has several branches in Metro Manila.
You might be wondering if plant stores are only limited to their physical stores – No. From Facebook marketplace to their websites, you will surely find the right plant for you.
To sum up, the pandemic negatively affected the lives of the Filipino people, most especially business owners. Yet, they still managed to get by, adapting and maximizing the resources and opportunities available to them. That is why here is your sign to ask your Filipino friend or a business owner their buzz during this time of the pandemic.