Nine out of 10 people who enter a mall have a relative living or working abroad, according to an official of a leading mall chain in the country.
Data from Philippine Statistics Authority showed that 2.3 million Filipinos were working abroad in April-September 2013 alone.
Personal remittances of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) breached the $2-billion mark in March this year, posting a single-digit growth from last year’s level.
Figures from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that the remittances in March grew 6.9 percent to $2.08 billion from $1.99 billion in the same month last year.
The United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong were the major sources of the cash remittances.
The major role played by OFWs in sustaining the economy prodded the SM Shopping Center Management Group to tap the huge Philippine market that is best represented by Filipinos working abroad.
Glenn Ang, vice president for operations of SM Shopping Center Management Group, said three million people enter the chain’s 48 malls across the country every day.
On Tuesday, SM Supermalls, Samsung and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., through its international arm PLDT Global, signed a partnership that will make available to the OFWs products and services offered by the partners.
PLDT will carry Samsung’s domestic appliances and electronics products that Filipinos abroad can pay for directly and have them delivered to their loved ones anywhere in the Philippines.
With transactions being made online, the OFW sender is spared the hassle of shipping bulky packages to the product recipient back home.
The service is available for Filipinos in Asia and Europe, including the United Kingdom, but it will be expanded soon to those in the US West Coast, according to Eric Alberto, PLDT executive vice president for enterprise, international and carrier business.
The partnership “gives us the opportunity to offer Samsung’s range of products to our overseas Filipinos who would want to provide the latest gadgets and appliances for their families,” Chung Lyong Lee, Samsung Electronics Philippines president and CEO, said in a statement.