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Boston Consulting sees PHL’s ‘conversational commerce’ to grow 5-10 times

Facebook Philippines country director John Rubio reveals to the media on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 the findings of a study on the growing conversational commerce in the country. Ted Cordero, GMA News
Facebook Philippines country director John Rubio reveals to the media on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 the findings of a study on the growing ‘conversational commerce’ in the country. Ted Cordero, GMA News

Conversational commerce in the Philippines is expected to grow five to 10 times in the medium-term as the majority of Filipinos do business online if they can message the seller or enterprise, said Massachusetts-based Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

“We estimate the value is already in the low hundreds of millions of dollars in the Philippines,” BCG Philippines managing director Anthony Oundjian said in a media roundtable in Taguig City on Tuesday.

“It is deemed to quite possibly--probably multiply” at around “five to 10 [times] in the next six or seven years,” Oundjian said.

A study by social media giant Facebook's  “2019 Holiday Study” has found that 90 percent, or nine out of 10, Filipino online shoppers are likely to buy from a business they can converse with.

Meanwhile, a study by Facebook and BCG found that 97% of people surveyed in the Philippines said they plan to increase or maintain their conversational commerce spending in the future.

The Facebook and BCG survey conducted between May and August 2019 covered 841 respondents from the Philippines.

BCG’s Oundjian noted that value of conversational commerce in the country was not covered by its study.

“It was not covered in the study but BCG have a sense ... We have our estimates,” Oundjian said.

Conversational commerce is defined as the use of messaging apps in doing business. It also covers chatting on e-commerce websites.

The Facebook study found that 57% of respondents said they chat with customer service to get additional information on products. Thirty-five percent use chat because of instant response, and 36% chat with businesses to determine if they are trustworthy, and 36% use messaging to haggle over product prices.

“People expect to have relationships with businesses that drive utility and value for them, and respect their time,” Facebook Philippines country director John Rubio noted.

“Across the Philippines, we’re seeing people adopt conversational commerce because it combines the best of both worlds—the conversation they could have in a physical store with the ease of shopping on e-commerce retail channels," Rubio said.

Forty-eight percent of buyers engage the enterprise in conversational commerce primarily on e-commerce platforms , 42% through social media or messaging platforms, and 10% visit at brands websites to chat.

Of those who use social media messaging, 84% do conversational commerce via Facebook platforms such as Messenger and Instagram.

“Conversational commerce is very interesting because it crosses ecosystems. For example, seeing an ad on social platform may prompt someone to initiate a chat with a retailer using messaging app and then complete payment by pulling the retailer’s site into their chat thread,” Oundjian said. —VDS/LDF/MDM, GMA News