With many malls nationwide seeing a resurgence in foot traffic as lockdown measures and COVID numbers stabilize, there is likewise an uptick in demand for work from home (WFH), online schooling, home improvement, and other “new normal” needs.
This is matched by a rise in demand for consumer financing, with more Filipinos availing of installment plans for home and work essentials so far this year compared to 2020, according to leading consumer finance company Home Credit Philippines.
“We definitely see more people in malls, and more people making purchases and loans for their families’ needs,” said David Minol, chief executive officer of Home Credit, a Prague-based provider of in-store consumer financing and digital financial services. “It is another encouraging sign that people are gradually recovering from what was a very challenging year for us all.”
According to Minol, at the mid-point of 2021 Home Credit has so far seen a rise in loan volume and served customers compared to 2020, with P10.6 billion in point-of-sale loans—installment offerings for commodities availed at Home Credit’s partner stores—already availed by nearly one million customers during the first half of this year. To date, the company has served more than seven million customers since introducing consumer financing in the country in 2013, attracting consumers with its simple loan requirements and fast one-minute approval.
“The demand for Home Credit’s inclusive and affordable financial products has grown at an exciting pace ever since we opened shop in the country,” explained Minol. “The demand was there even during the peak of lockdowns, but with malls closed and people staying safely at home, not to mention the economic challenges of the pandemic, our expectations were tempered as we prioritized the safety of our customers and employees. But with majority of our partner stores across the country up and running once again, we are excited to welcome back our customers and give them the best possible experience.”
Minol noted that Home Credit’s best-selling commodity for financing in 2021 remains to be smartphones, with TVs, refrigerators, laptops and sporting equipment completing the top five list. “It is an interesting best-seller list as it reflects what Filipinos’ priorities and lifestyles are in the new normal. They put great value on things that allow their families to live, work and play better.”
Air conditioners were also an in-demand commodity especially during summer, as Home Credit saw a 125% increase in sales of cooling products from P132M in Q1 to P296M in Apr to May at the height of the company’s “Beat the Init” promo.
While the company sees a strong return of customers to malls, it also noted that its mobile user base likewise continues to rise. “We know that Filipinos have a strong mall culture, and it still shows in this new normal. But what these past months have also shown is how digital savvy Filipinos have become, especially when it comes to e-commerce and online shopping,” Minol remarked.
“So we are happy to say that our mobile app also remains as strong as ever, helping our customers do everything from manage their accounts, apply for new loans, pay bills with their Home Credit card, pay for goods using QR codes, avail exciting discounts from our merchant partners, and even shop for new gadgets. We are able to offer the best of both worlds to our customers, whether they prefer to shop in the malls or in the comfort of their own homes via our app.”
The My Home Credit app, available on Google Play, has been downloaded over six million times, and its active user base includes the company’s point-of-sale and cash loan customers, Home Credit card holders, Marketplace online shoppers, and customers availing of Smile discounts. Meanwhile, the company is present in over 9,000 physical partner stores nationwide.