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From groceries to revenge travel: Pinoys shift GC spending post-Covid

MANILA: Filipinos have shifted their spending behavior when it comes to gift certificates (GCs) after the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) lockdowns, according to French employee benefits and engagement partner firm Pluxee.

Pluxee Philippines chief executive officer Mert Cetin said Tuesday that Filipinos spent their GCs on groceries and basic goods at the height of the pandemic due to the limited operations of business establishments.

He also observed an increase in home appliance spending and a decline in shopping for fashion items during the Covid-19 lockdowns as people stayed and worked at home.

‘We see the shift at the pandemic time, actually. During the pandemic, the spending habit really converted into more groceries and basic necessities because you don’t actually need shoes while you’re locked in your house every day,’ Cetin said on the sidelines of Pluxee’s press launch in Makati City.

‘But now, after opening up and the full recovery, we see more of what we say ‘revenge travel’. We see travel
expenses increased. I would say more of fashion retail, dining, which is on the rise.’

Stronger jobs data

The Pluxee Philippines chief said he is optimistic that their double-digit growth would continue this year, with the positive outlook on the country’s economy, employment, and consumer spending.

Pluxee, formerly Sodexo, is the pioneer and biggest issuer of GCs in the country. Its GCs could be spent in more than 17,000 merchants nationwide.

Pluxee has partnered with employers to provide employee benefits through these gift certificates.

To date, it has 5,000 clients composed of small and medium enterprises and large conglomerates and 2 million beneficiaries and consumers.

With the lower unemployment rate recorded in November 2023 and more Filipinos joining the workforce, Cetin said this would drive the company’s double-digit growth for the Philippine market this year.

The robust economic growth, on the other hand, will likewise fuel the expansion of companies leading to hiring more and providing ben
efits for additional headcount.

Tapping e-commerce

Pluxee Philippines managing director Sharon Velasco shared that Pluxee beneficiaries and consumers could now use the Pluxee Gift credits through the Pluxee Philippines app, where credits can be partially redeemed.

Unlike the Sodexo Premium Pass, wherein consumers cannot get change for transactions below the GC value, Pluxee Gift credits can be used to pay the exact amount of the transaction.

Pluxee also operates its online stores through, with about 25 partner stores in its e-commerce platform.

Meanwhile, Cetin said merchants would continue accepting Sodexo Premium Pass even with the launch of the Pluxee Philippines app and gift credits.

Guilt-free spending

Asked why Pluxee merchants do not include utility companies so the GCs could be spent for bill payments, Cetin said GCs are meant for self-gifting.

‘Probably, you shouldn’t pay your bills with your presents. This is something very individual… Sometimes, you look at the shoes and say,
‘This is very good but too expensive, but I have some credits.’ Now, it’s guilt-free shopping,’ he said.

Source: Philippines News Agency