Before 2020, doing groceries online wasn’t really a common practice in the Philippines. But the pandemic changed the country’s digital economy, allowing it to catch up with the rest of Southeast Asia’s digital advancements.
With various emerging COVID variants this year, Filipinos find themselves having little to no choice but to shop for essentials online. iPrice Group, Southeast Asia’s leading online shopping aggregator, observed a notable surge of 89% in the Philippines’ top online groceries’ web traffic.
Online groceries’ web visits in April are 78% more than the web visits in February, when daily COVID cases were much lower. It’s important to highlight that the Philippines had hit a record high of active COVID cases in April. The country also implemented another strict lockdown in certain areas during that month.
In August, as the Delta variant is spreading and daily COVID cases are breaking more records, the online grocery sites reached the highest number of web visits this year (1.4 million), increasing by 21% compared to the previous month and 89% compared to February.
The online groceries’ web traffic has maintained above 1.1 million visits from April to August since the number of daily cases has not quite gone back to the same rate in the earlier months of the year.
The Philippines Has the Cheapest Grocery Items in Southeast Asia
According to another iPrice study, Manila is recorded to have the third most expensive cost of living and the lowest average salary in the region. Thankfully, the same isn’t true for grocery items in the country as they are the least expensive compared to other SEA countries’ items.
iPrice collected the breakdown of average market prices in six Southeast Asian countries from Numbeo.
Based on data from Numbeo, a full range of market items (from dairy to fruits & vegetables to alcohol) in the Philippines amounts to an average of PHP 2,437. Following close behind the Philippines is Vietnam with its grocery items only 10% more expensive (PHP 2,687).
Grocery items in Malaysia and Indonesia are fairly inexpensive as well, but items like beer, wine, and cigarettes are heavily taxed, which makes these items more than twice as expensive as the same items in the Philippines.
The top two countries with the most expensive cost of living also have the most expensive grocery items. Singapore’s items are more than 2x as much as the Philippines’ items while Thailand’s are 41% more expensive.
A Guide on Doing Online Groceries
iPrice aggregated 11 online grocery stores available in Metro Manila and compared their websites’ delivery fees and minimum amount to order for online shoppers’ convenience.
For shoppers who just want to buy an item or two, SM Markets offers a no minimum order fee and a delivery fee of Php 150. Landers offers no minimum order fee as well, but their delivery fee will be based on the number of items. They also require a membership and a personal shopper fee of Php 99 to be paid.
Fortunately for the health freaks, RealFood and Wholesome Grocer don’t need a minimum amount to order, but they come with a delivery fee (within Metro Manila) of Php 150 and Php 160 respectively.
If shoppers go through MetroMart’s website, they can find a small Php 80 delivery fee and Php 1,000 minimum amount to order in markets like S&R, Robinsons Supermarket, and The Marketplace.
Shopwise, PureGold, and AllDay Supermarket offer the same minimum amount to order of Php 1,000. However, Shopwise has one of the most expensive delivery fees recorded (Php 200). PureGold has a Php 150 delivery fee while AllDay Supermarket’s depends on the location to be delivered.
If shoppers are looking to buy in bulk, WalterMart offers a good delivery fee. With a minimum of Php 2,000 to order, it offers just a Php 99 delivery fee.