Filipina entrepreneurs in the local e-commerce space suffered more from the pandemic fallout than their male counterparts, reinforcing observations that the health crisis is disproportionately hurting women.
A research by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, released Thursday found that women-owned businesses in the country outsold men by 106% in terms of gross merchandise value before the pandemic struck.
The study, conducted from May to June 28 last year, covered entrepreneurs in Lazada, the Singaporean e-commerce platform that has increased its foothold in the country’s Philippine e-commerce sector during the pandemic.
Prior to the health crisis, Filipinas ran and owned two-thirds of businesses in Lazada.
But that all changed when the pandemic struck. While the number of businesses owned by women increased by 66%, items sold by these enterprises dove dramatically by 106%, worse than the slump seen by male-owned businesses.
The same trend is also happening in Indonesia, IFC said.
“There is little doubt that the ability to compete online will increasingly define whether a company succeeds or fails—a trend which has only been accelerated by the pandemic.
Ensuring that women are well-placed to compete online will not only strengthen businesses but drive development,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, senior vice president at IFC.
Meanwhile, sales of products from Filipina-owned online shops dropped by 27%, smaller compared to Indonesia’s 44%.
This happened even as online shopping has become a national pastime for the Philippines’ consumption-driven economy over the past year as quarantine restrictions forced the public indoors.
In a nutshell, the study is pushing for parity since they forecast a loss of $46 billion in potential value annually.
Tapping into this potential revenue stream could do wonders for the country’s pandemic-stricken economy.
As it stands, MSMEs account for 99% of registered businesses in the Philippines.
On top of parity, most of these businesses have struggled with financing.
The IFC study points out 61% of women in the Philippines do not have bank accounts.
To jumpstart their ventures, Filipina entrepreneurs look to moneylenders or dip into their savings account.
By introducing reforms to financing, such as introducing options or kinder lending rates, could do wonders for this crucial segment of the economy.