The Philippines, Southeast Asia’s Fastest Internet Economy

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The sixth edition of the e-Conomy Southeast Asia (SEA) Report – Roaring 20’s: The SEA Digital Decade – was issued by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company.

According to the analysis, the internet economies of Southeast Asia—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam—are booming at double-digit rates, with the Philippines topping the list.

For the first time, the research includes a ten-year forecast, illustrating how the area is on track to become a $1 trillion digital economy by 2030.

Growth in Southeast Asia, headed by the Philippines, is expected to reach $174 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) by the end of 2021, propelled by a rapidly rising base of digital customers and merchants, as well as acceleration in e-commerce and food delivery.

The region’s digital economy is predicted to rise to $360 billion by 2025, above the previous prediction of $300 billion.

“The digital adoption we’ve seen in the Philippines since last year has contributed to the accelerated growth of the country’s internet economy, magnifying its vast potential,”

Bernadette Nacario, Google Philippines’ national director, stated.

From 2020 to 2021, the Philippines had the largest growth rate in the area, at 93 percent, with a projected increase from $9 billion to $17 billion. By 2025, it is estimated to reach $40 billion.

“The findings of the e-Conomy Southeast Asia Report are encouraging, especially with the Philippines as the fastest-growing digital economy now in the region.”  

Nacario said.

With 20% of the country’s digital customers utilizing a digital service for the first time since March 2020, the Philippines has one of the region’s highest percentages of new users who began consuming more material online during the pandemic.

“We believe that digitalization of transactions will drive our economy to greater heights. This is one of the government’s priorities to ensure that our kababayans are still able to have alternative sources of income despite the immense economic impact of the pandemic,”

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said.

According to the same report, the e-Commerce industry guaranteed livelihood continuity, with 39 percent of digital merchants believing they would not have survived the pandemic if not for digital platforms.

The e-Commerce Philippines 2022 Roadmap was launched in collaboration with the DTI and the whole e-government. The Roadmap emphasizes initiatives that will assist infrastructure, institutions, systems, and people in adopting a digital economy.

Its goal is to encourage simple, safe, secure, and dependable online transactions, which will transfer into simple commerce. From 2020 to November 2021, there will be a total of 805,190 company name registrations, with 112,465 of them relating to online shopping or PSIC 47913.

“In adapting to the unprecedented crisis brought about by the pandemic, we, in DTI, have expanded our programs and initiatives in digitalization. We also commit to continuously provide our MSMEs with more opportunities arising from the rising digital economy,”

Sec. Lopez further stated.

The Philippines is approaching its digital decade, as the internet becomes an increasingly important aspect of citizens’ everyday life. The rapid 132 percent rise in e-commerce and double-digit growth across all sectors, including food delivery services, fueled the country’s digital market boom.

“The Philippines’ internet economy is the fastest growing in SEA as a result of strict COVID-19 restrictions and a large number of new digital consumers,”

said Willy Chang, Associate Partner at Bain & Company.