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Google PH study shows 5 trillion potential of digital economy

Gerome Panlilio, owner of Germano’s Chilli, uses Google Business features to reach a wider audience and market his garlic chili products.* Google Philippines photo

Given the opportunity to start a business with little capital through digital platform, economics consultancy firm AlphaBeta estimates that Filipinos could earn P5 trillion by 2030.

The firm recently finished a study commissioned by Google Philippines to examine the economic significance of digital technologies, especially in non-technology sectors.

“A study has found that the pandemic has effectively pushed forward the digital revolution by five years globally, providing an opportunity for the Philippines to ride the next digital wave. This makes it essential for policy makers to understand the potential economic value of technology applications for the Philippines and the necessary steps to realize it,” according to the AlphaBeta study shared to the media on Tuesday.

If leveraged fully, digital transformation can unlock P5 trillion or USD101.3 billion worth of annual economic value by 2030.

“Of this value, P3.5 trillion could come from technologies that help businesses mitigate the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and future similar events,” the report added.

The study showed the country should explore three areas of action to fully capture its digital opportunity: enhancing digital skills training and education; accelerating digital adoption and innovation; and promoting digital trade opportunities.

During the media briefer, Google Philippines director Bernadette Nacario underscored the importance of digital adoption to unlock new opportunities and gain resilience in the post-pandemic future.

She said beyond its immediate economic impacts, the pandemic is likely to have long-term implications in three aspects of the Philippine economy — the emergence of a hybrid workplace that supports digital freelancing, accelerating the shift towards digital payments, and severe disruptions to the business operations of small enterprises.

“By providing businesses access to global markets, equipping businesses with digital capabilities to conduct electronic transactions, and facilitating remote work, technology can help businesses manage the long-term economic implications of the Covid-19 pandemic while staying resilient against future similar events,” she added.

TOOLS AND SERVICES

Nacario said accessible tools and services provided by Google were utilized by entrepreneurs whose businesses blossomed during the height of quarantine restrictions last year.

“We are humbled that local businesses, consumers and the wider society derive over P578 billion in annual benefits, brought about by increased revenues and millions of connections online,” she said.

One of the businesses that benefited from the digital training workshop is Germano’s Chilli, which started in 2008 to recreate at home the experience of eating the chili garlic condiment in restaurants.

The concept was new at that time and the business struggled with brand awareness.

Owner Gerome Panlilio said he found it hard to penetrate the bigger merchant sector when he was starting but improved on his strategies after attending a seminar hosted by Google Philippines in 2018.

He was introduced to the free Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) on Google Search and Maps.

With the help of the free feature, his products became discoverable on Google Search, enhancing awareness and driving inquiries for Germano’s Chilli.

“Like everyone else, the pandemic challenged our business, but we were able to pivot and serve customers online using the knowledge and tools I got from Google’s training workshop. In fact, the export demand for my products remains stable and its sales continue to perform well in major supermarkets,” Google Philippines quoted Panlilio as saying.

Before the pandemic, Germano’s Chilli’s online sales peaked at only 3 percent but in the past year and a half, it increased to 15 percent.*PNA

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