This afternoon, I sat down with Dan Neary (Vice President for Emerging Markets) of eBay SouthEast Asia to talk about the recent developments of e-commerce in the country.
Since the official launch of eBay Philippines (eBay.ph) in November 2004 and the re-launch of a full site in November 2007, the online auction and listing service has grown to be one of the top destinations of Filipinos online. Dan Neary says “… we do not give out market specific figures but I can tell you we have about 1.6 Million unique visitors going to eBay.ph per month”. Since the November 2007 re-launch “eBay.ph has had over 36,000 new registered users”, adds Eunice Lim, PR Manager of eBay SEA based in Singapore. There’s an average of 18 pageviews per visitor, spending an about of 23 minutes on the site.
Pressed for numbers, Dan points me to publicly available figures (Alexa stats) comparing them to other Philippine-based auction sites like Auction.ph and Bidshot.com:
On the eBay.ph alone, top items being sold and bought includes clothing & accessories, jewelry & watches, toys and cellphones. Everyday, a Pinoy buys on eBay.ph an average of 158 toys, a watch every 15 minutes, and a cell phone every 20 minutes. According to a recent Nielsen survey, about 3,000 Filipinos are making a full-time living off (as primary and secondary source of income) of selling items on eBay.ph.
One of the top users they featured during a short video presentation was Gilbert Ledesma (eBay ID:brum2000) who makes his living off selling miniature jeepneys on eBay. Gilbert reveals that he’s making around $1,000 a month from this and has since expanded his listing to other toys and collectibles. Other top sellers include Ariel Roda (eBay ID: la perfumeria) who sells branded perfumes and Aldwin Pagdanganan who’s into Japanese collectibles and katana.
Asked whether they have plans of putting up a local office in the Philippines, Neary comments that they work on a centralized system but have actually been doing global customer support from the Philippines (outside Metro Manila) for some time now. Though they would not specify which BPO or location, my guess is that it could be one of the call centers in Cebu.
He added that the Philippines is an important market for eBay and with an estimated 21 million internet users in the country, they expect a grow rate of 21% in e-commerce every year between 2008 and 2010. In South East Asia alone, eBay Philippines is the most active site, followed by eBay Malaysia although the latter is higher in terms of total volumes. eBay Philippines has also recently announced partnership with Globe GCash to support mobile payments.