Local exporters urged to consider e-commerce

E-COMMERCE is the next big opportunity that local exporters must adopt to reach a wider market.

Philexport Cebu executive director Fred Escalona yesterday said that while continued innovation remains a key strategy to stay ahead, tapping the online platform is another opportunity that the local exporters must consider, since a lot of players in various industries are starting to create waves online.

The rising middle class, high consumer spending and a young and vibrant, tech-savvy population is driving e-commerce forward.

Escalona said that future initiatives of Philexport Cebu will gear towards equipping the local exporters with the right market intelligence to help them become big in the digital economy.

“We will do a lot of market research and invite IT players to Cebu to help our members know how to get into this e-Commerce space,” said Escalona, who also noted that intensive e-commerce sessions have been ongoing for Manila exporters.

He said they will also seek inputs from their counterparts in Manila and Davao.

Philexport has been urging local exporters to prepare to participate in the online trading platform to help their businesses grow, as they work to achieve the export target of $122 billion to $131 billion by 2022.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Export Marketing Bureau Director Senen Perlada encouraged exporters innovate and collaborate with the government to seize the opportunities and deal challenges of the digital economy.

“So what are we gonna do now? Innovate or evaporate... We have to embrace that digital economy, we have to find our place in a digital economy,” he said, in a statement.

Tapping the online platform, according to Escalona, works well in a country like the Philippines, where there are 33 million unique smartphone users and 60 million Filipinos are active online users.

Having a strong online presence would also complement efforts of exporters to boost the domestic sales, which is a growth driver, especially among the furniture players, added Escalona.

Global e-commerce is projected to grow by 101.4 percent on the average, from 2013 to 2018 from the current $1.15-billion.

The DTI aspires to see the e-commerce industry contribute 25 percent or one fourth of the country’s gross domestic product by 2020.

The DTI Export Marketing Bureau sees a solid growth for the country’s merchandise exports this year, as it continues to expand by 11.68 percent in total sales of $53.11 billion from January to October, compared to the $47.55 billion in the same period last year.
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