Carmudi: More Filipinos prefer buying cars online (Business Mirror (Philippines))

WITH an increase in smartphone penetration and availability of the Internet, Filipino consumers are fast changing their trends when it comes to purchasing items and services, an executive of a company selling cars online said.

Online shopping has become more popular with its attractive safety nets, such as product change and money-back guarantees for defective and for those that do not meet the buyers’ standards, according to Stefan Haubold, cofounder and global managing director of Carmudi Philippines Inc. (CPI), a company under the Philippines Internet Group (PIG).

PIG is a joint venture between Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Rocket Internet AG created in January. The latter created Carmudi, an online classifieds for brand-new and secondhand vehicles, in 2013.

Haubold said the Philippine market reception toward shopping for cars online is very good.

Compared to Myanmar, for instance, people still have to embrace the Internet, it’s still something new to them. The Philippines is one of the more advanced economies in Asia. It has a more open economy, that’s why you see many online businesses, he said during a discussion with the media recently.

A survey conducted by Carmudi on the evolving buying trends of Filipinos revealed that 40 percent of the respondents showed willingness to buy vehicles online. About 38 percent said they are against it, while 22 percent are not sure. The survey also revealed buyers are likely to buy online only if several conditions are met.

About 89 percent said they seek a comprehensive collection of vehicle pictures and descriptions, while 91 percent said they want a one-year guarantee or 14-day refund. Eighty-two percent, meanwhile, said they want a readily available car expert to advise them on their purchase.

What makes the Philippines an attractive market is its young population, Haubold said, when asked how the country differs from its neighbors in terms of adapting online vehicle marketplace. The majority are below 30 years, we call them early adapters and you don’t have to change their habits. There is also the high penetration of smartphones. And English is widely spoken, so you don’t have the language barrier.

At the beginning of the year, the company also partnered with Smart Communications Inc. to allow postpaid users to download Carmudi application and browse the site for free without a deduction from their Internet data plan.

At present, Carmudi Philippines has approximately 25,000 listing for the country. CPI has an office in Makati and Cebu, and plans to expand and build another in Mindanao.

It is currently available in 19 countries from Bangladesh to Zambia.

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