Food deliveries, online shopping activities rise as consumers stay home

BUSINESS AS USUAL. Amid the Covid-19 threat the franchising industry remains optimistic it will log higher growth this year on the back of the country’s infrastructure spending. From left, Kenneth Lim, Philippine Franchise Association (PFA)-Cebu president and Alegria Limjoco, PFA vice chairperson invite Cebuanos to join the week-long franchising expo in March in Manila. (SunStar Photo/Katlene O. Cacho)

THE Covid-19 outbreak has forced Filipino consumers to embrace food deliveries and online shopping as people stopped frequenting areas with high foot traffic like malls.

Alegria Limjoco, vice chairperson of the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA), said while retailers are bearing the brunt of the Covid-19’s impact on retail sales, the industry saw the rise of online shopping activities, particularly on food deliveries.

Limjoco said the group saw 50 percent increase in online shopping actvities. including food deliveries.

“It’s true that in every challenge there is an opportunity. The Taal Volcano eruption and the Covid-19 have opened the eyes of many that they must be able to serve online and they must have somebody to deliver it for them,” said Limjoco on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020.

Kenneth Lim, PFA president in Cebu, said his business Dessert Factory, in particular experienced five to 10 percent rise in off-premise dining in January. But he said this was tempered by a decrease in sales of their mall-based branches.

Dessert Factory just tapped a third party delivery agent in the middle of 2019.

“This has given us a boost but we aren’t sure yet how it has really affected our sales and operations,” said Lim, adding that it is difficult to gauge yet the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak since it’s still one and half months.

But malls in Metro Manila already recorded 20 to 30 percent drop in sales, said Limjoco, who is also a chaiperson of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

But despite these “unpredicted events” Limjoco said the franchising industry, which contributes seven percent to the country’s gross domestic product, is hoping to sustain the 20 percent growth it achieved in 2019.

The group is banking on the infrastructure spending this year that is seen to drive consumer spending and the month-long shopping festival nationwide on March 1 to 31 to lure consumers to go out and shop.

Franchise Asia Expo

Limjoco was in Cebu to invite Cebuanos to visit the Franchise Asia Philippines expo on March 25 to 29, 2020, at the SMX Convention Center in Manila.

The event, which the group decided to push through amid the virus outbreak, will be participated by 800 local and international franchise brands.

It will zero-in on the readiness of the industry for the fourth industrial revolution.

“We are now at the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution and we would like to help the franchising sector prepare for the challenges and opportunities ahead,” said Sherill Quintana, PFA president in a statement.

According to Limjoco, the challenges faced by retailers now serve as a test on how quick businesses will respond to market disruptions.

Aside from the talks, the week-long activity will feature franchise seminars and business matching activities.

More than 80 industry experts including international franchise guru Greg Nathan, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III and US-based International Franchise Association chairperson Catherine Monson will impart their knowledge and best business practices.

“We are proud that PFA continues to be an agent for international brands that want to expand here,” said Dom Hernandex, overall chair of the expo.

This year’s expo will also showcase brands from Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and USA, among others.

The Franchise Asia Philippines is the biggest franchise show in Asia. Last year, the event hosted over 700 participants.

This article is originally published and written by Sunstar Cebu which can be accessed online at https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1845326

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