With many Filipinos continuing to work from home and students still attending their classes online, the demand for laptops, smartphones and other “new normal essentials” will continue rising. This is according to leading consumer finance company Home Credit, noting that the trend might be seen not just in 2021 but in the foreseeable future.
From new normal to just normal
“One of the most defining buzzwords in 2020—’new normal’—continues to be a relevant word as we welcome the new year,” remarked Sheila Paul, Home Credit Philippines’ chief marketing officer. “And as millions of employees and students continue to live, work and play from the comfort of their homes, we believe that it is starting to shift from ‘new normal’ to simply our normal way of life from now on.”
Ms. Paul explained that the rising demand for these devices has been evident even prior to the pandemic, with Home Credit—which has a nationwide partner store presence and rapidly growing base of mobile app users from its 7 million customers—listing these gadgets in their top five most-loaned items on a regular basis.
Love affair with gadgets
“Filipinos’ love affair with smartphones and other gadgets is well-documented, and as these became even more affordable and feature-packed in recent years, the demand for these products—and in turn, Home Credit’s financing services—rapidly grew as well,” noted Ms. Paul, adding that the company’s My Home Credit app has especially grown in recent years with 1.3 million active users at present.
“And while the pandemic impacted everyone, consumers and businesses alike, we still saw a good amount of demand for these products; in fact, they remained in our top three, with TVs rounding up the list. And this really says a lot about the things that people needed the most especially during lockdown,” she added.
Smartphones still on top as demand for fintech also rises
Data from Home Credit shows that the company financed nearly 900,000 smartphones in 2020, the most-loaned item for the year with TVs and laptops taking 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Among the top smartphone brands purchased via Home Credit include OPPO, Vivo, realme, Samsung, and Huawei, while ACER, Lenovo, and ASUS were determined as the best-selling brands for laptops. As for TVs, popular brands TCL, Sony, and Samsung topped the list.
Customers availing loans for phones ranged from employees and students, to entrepreneurs needing new phones for their online businesses, or consumers simply wanting to upgrade to the latest model of their favorite brand through installments.
Ms. Paul added that the continuing demand for smartphones is also linked to Filipinos’ increasing use and adoption of digital tools such as fintech apps that are especially crucial in the new normal. “More than ever, we need online digital tools that allow us to do things like borrow and transfer money, pay bills, and make purchases in a safe and convenient way. And apps such as our My Home Credit App do exactly that, with more and more users embracing these platforms.”
“It is important for consumer finance and other financial institutions to continue catering to the needs of Filipinos in the new normal by offering products that are accessible and affordable to them. This is why we remain supportive of BSP and its continuing efforts to drive financial inclusion in Philippines,” Ms. Paul shared.
Home Credit’s app gives users the option to apply for gadget and cash loans right inside the app, instead of the usual process of in-store application. It also comes with a slew of “new normal-ready” features such as enabling Home Credit card users to make payments via QR; making payments to a growing list of billers such as utilities; an in-app Marketplace where users can shop for gadgets and apply for loans all within the app; SMILE that offer a vast lineup of discounts and deals from thousands of partners; and real-time disbursement of cash loan proceeds.