36 Best Online Business Ideas in the Philippines for 2017


E-commerce will continue to make a significant impact on global business in 2017. Market analysts report global e-commerce is trending toward a US$2 Trillion year in 2016.

The short term forecast is that e-commerce may hit US$12 Trillion by 2020! Online business ideas are your best bet for enterprise in the Philippines for 2017.

Asia has accounted for 39.7% of global online sales in 2016. It is estimated that Asia will generate US$1 trillion in e-commerce sales by 2017.

You also have to consider that the world has become increasingly mobile. People and businesses are depending more on their smartphones to find information and to complete transactions. Online businesses will continue to thrive in 2017.

If you want to set up an online business, there are few things you should get done:

  • Register your business – As a corporation, you gain more respectability and improve your chances of landing favorable arrangements with suppliers, wholesalers, and manufacturers.
  • Set up a website – Invest in a website that is mobile responsive, fast to download, accessible via multi-browsers, fully functional and fully optimized. Don’t even think about using a free template!
  • Set up a merchant account – You cannot transact unless you set up a merchant account.
  • Open social media accounts – Online marketing is a big part of launching a successful online business, and social media is a great way to build your online presence.
  • Build your brand – It takes time to develop a brand. Start building your brand as soon as possible. Your brand will help you find your market.

If you haven’t zoned in on your planned venture, here are 36 of the best online business ideas you might want to consider in the Philippines for 2017.

1. Fashion Apparel

In the world of e-commerce, fashion apparel continues to rule. Since 2013, fashion apparel has been the most purchased item online from every corner of the world.

In Asia, 63% of all online purchases in the US$855 Billion e-commerce industry comes from fashion apparel. The trend is expected to continue well into the year 2020.

An emerging market in fashion is Active Wear which is apparel that can be worn in and out of the gym. Pop stars Beyonce, Rihanna, Kanye West and style mavens Kendall and Kylie Jenner have released their line of Active Wear.

Can you imagine if you could distribute the Active Wear of all of those celebrities? You could have the best online business idea in 2017!

2. Electronics

With life and business under the influence of technology, it should be no surprise that electronics is the number 1 e-commerce item purchased online in Asia. 69% of all online purchases are for electronic items.

These items include smartphones, tablets, portable music players and every other high tech gadget designed to make life more comfortable and life easier.

You should offer categories for brand new models, old models, and second-hand units.

3. Groceries

Does anyone believe there will be a resolution to the traffic problem?

No one wants to spend 1 hour getting to the supermarket and another 1 or 2 hours getting out. Everyone has to shop for groceries, but traffic and poor infrastructure make it very inconvenient.

An online grocery shopping service would be a big relief for many Filipinos who hardly have enough time to relax with family. Perhaps set up arrangements with retailers then hire motorcycle delivery services for handling and transportation.

4. Household Goods

You could also retail household goods that are often purchased such as:

  • Utensils
  • Glassware
  • Plastic ware
  • Cooking ware
  • Cleaning equipment

These items are not perishables and as long as they are stored properly will remain in great condition.

Household goods account for 38% of all online sales in Asia!

5. Office Supplies

This is a good retail segment to get into for two reasons. First, you cater to the different offices that do not have the time or the workforce to buy office supplies.

Second, you will also be catering to the growing home based business market. More people are setting up home offices and becoming entrepreneurs. These are not just workstations but areas where the normal business activity takes place. These home-based businesses also need office supplies.

You can introduce a membership card to encourage users of your service to buy in volume to gain discounts.

6. Gift Boxes

This has been a growing trend in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Gift boxes are ornately adorned packages that are filled with goodies which are delivered to a recipient every month for an entire year.

Imagine celebrating the first year of your child by sending him/ her a gift box every month from the date of birth. It will be Christmas 12 months of the year!

Members only need to pay an annual fee to receive the gift box. You can choose the products which include toys, books, clothes and perfume among others.

7. Sporting Goods

Filipinos love sports, so it only makes sense to start an online business that caters to every type of sporting activity. It will also be a big help for families whose child may need an immediate sporting goods item such a set of padded arnis sticks in 2 days!

Offer a wide selection of sporting goods merchandise from apparel to equipment to those not found in the regular mall- based sporting goods store.

Sporting goods accounted for 20% of all online sales in Asia.

8. Pet Supplies

Last week one of the major retailers of pet supplies opened its latest outlet. Every time I pass by their store, there are no customers. I asked the store manager how business was doing.

She said business was very good. According to her most of the sales were from online sources. The store functions as a warehouse, product display and to capture walk-in customers.

There is a large market for pet supplies in the Philippines. You should increase the value proposition by including pet care and grooming services.

Pet supplies also accounted for 20% of all online sales in Asia.

9. Luxury items

I am not sure of the statistics, but there is a market segment for luxury items in the Philippines. It may not be huge but you can be rest assured you can have good margins on luxury items.

Luxury items include watches, pens, jewelry and other accessories. You could offer second-hand items at greatly discounted prices for better value. Luxury items accounted for 6% of all online sales in Asia.

10. Publications

Books at 67% were the second most purchased items online in Asia. You could offer second-hand books that cover a wide range of categories such as:

  • Fiction
  • Non-Fiction
  • Children’s Books
  • Text Books
  • Popular References

You can visit retailers such as Book Sale and note it continues to generate good traffic.

11. Supplements

If I wanted to buy supplements, I used to take an almost hour long drive to a retailer who sold them at affordable prices.

It was a great relief to find supplement retailers online. All I need to do is place my order 1-2 days before delivery, and they’ll send it to my house via motorcycle courier.

If you plan to be an online supplement retailer, I advise having chat support services so you can guide site visitors who have questions about your products. It would also be helpful to have a supplements review page available for reference.

12. Food Delivery

A growing segment of the food delivery business is health food. More online proprietors are offering customized healthy food for the health and fitness conscious.

This is a good idea because food cost on healthy food is high. You have to buy from organic or natural sources which are more expensive. By operating from home, you cut down on overhead expenses to lower the retail price without compromising your margins.

Many of these health and fitness buffs order food in bulk. Some will order 25 packaged meals every week!

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