Why the marketplace is today’s preferred online shopping platform

With over 73 million Filipinos actively using at least one marketplace for online shopping, online marketplaces have now become a regular part of shoppers’ everyday lives. It’s not hard to see why, as they conveniently provide customers with a wide range of products right at their fingertips. Shoppers are no longer constrained to the limitations of brick and mortar stores. They can now purchase items whenever and wherever they want to. 

But with how popular online marketplaces like Shopee and Lazada are right now, it can be easy to forget that things weren’t always this way. There was a time when these platforms were met with hesitation from Filipinos.

How did online marketplaces grow into today’s preferred shopping platform? Let’s take a closer look at the history of online marketplaces in the Philippines to find out.

How it started

Back in 2012, the launch of Lazada introduced the Philippines to its first widely available online marketplace. However, it didn’t make that big of a splash right away. Customers weren’t quick to accept these shopping platforms – not due to a lack of interest – but rather because of their unfamiliarity with the process.

Advancements in technology would soon make these platforms more accessible to customers, leading to a consistent rise of people using a marketplace for online shopping.

Rise to prominence

Once the initial trepidation disappeared, these online marketplaces started to take off. The shift happened as these platforms started to cater to mobile users, making them more accessible to a majority of Filipinos. The market’s apprehension would also lessen due to advancements in logistics solutions, ensuring that online orders would be safely delivered to shoppers.

Once they were on these online marketplaces, Filipinos would appreciate not only their convenience but also the discounts they offered. Customers loved the wide variety of products available to them that traditional stores weren’t offering. They also enjoyed how flexible these online marketplaces were in terms of payment options, so whether it was Cash-On-Delivery or via an E-wallet, shoppers could pay for items however they wanted.  

New competitors like Shopee would soon launch their own platforms and help grow the overall market. More merchants started selling on these platforms because of the lower barrier of entry for those with a desire to set up an online store. 

As compared to traditional shops, online marketplaces have lower operating costs. Essentially, all you needed to become a seller was the site. It was no longer a necessity to put up a physical space.

The lockdown boom

The number of Filipinos using these platforms would soon explode due to the effects of the pandemic. With nationwide lockdowns being implemented, going to physical stores was no longer a viable option. 

Shopping on online marketplaces would become a necessity for customers. More and more Filipinos shifted to getting their goods through these platforms. E-commerce adoption would rise to around 80.2% over the course of the pandemic. Platforms like Lazada would also see a significant increase in their monthly visits. From 28.5 million monthly visits in 2019, it ballooned to over 34 million monthly visits in 2020.

The future of online marketplaces

Customers using a marketplace for online shopping has become the norm these days. They have grown accustomed to the convenience online marketplaces offer. And with the recent eases in mobility restrictions – they’ll be expecting better service from them.

The future of these marketplaces also looks more competitive for merchants. Businesses are now seeing the value of shifting to digital selling spaces. Online marketplaces are now on pace to become the main shopping platform for a greater number of Filipinos. 

Merchants now have to be able to stand out from the competition if they want to maintain their success. This can seem daunting for most but luckily Payo, a leading E-commerce enabler, is here to help you!

Our Marketplace Optimization service gives you a dedicated team that can help set up your online store and optimize it for selling in the Philippine market. We also have a Fulfillment service that can help you easily provide your customers with fast and reliable delivery.

Learn more about our E-commerce and marketplace solutions by signing up today or by sending us a message at We hope to hear from you soon!