What Will Next-Wave Sari-Sari Stores Look Like by 2020?

With over one million sari-sari stores all over the Philippines, these small neighborhood retail outlets will certainly remain a stable small business in the country.

Change is inevitable and sari-sari stores are expected to evolve in the next few years. Have you ever considered how next-wave sari-sari stores will look like in the future?

By John Martin PERRY (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
That’s what International Data Corp. (IDC), a US-based technology industry research and consultancy firm, tried to answer this question in the annual IDC FutureScapes briefing.

According to the market intelligence firm, sari-sari stores will soon offer financial services like bills payment, remittance services as well as electronic loading of phone credits. It will also serve as payment channels for areas not reached by banks.

“By 2020, 30 percent of Philippine sari-sari stores will evolve to become another channel for one-stop payments and remittance centers,” IDC Philippines stated.

Moreover, the firm also predicted that sari-sari stores will potentially widen the reach of big businesses by getting into hard-to-reach area. In fact, IDC market analyst Jerome Dominguez believes sari-sari stores can be soon selling airline tickets.

“Sari-sari stores offer organizations looking to engage more in the rural areas a viable channel — an alternative to building brick-and-mortar branches, which may be cost-prohibitive to most companies.”

Today, there are various business ventures that had been launched with the aim of helping sari-sari store owners. For instance, local tech startup Sari Software Solutions has come up with a mobile phone app that can help store owners manage their sari-sari store better.

Present in all neighborhoods in the Philippines, a sari-sari store often offers a variety of products particularly basic commodities. Compared to supermarkets, sari-sari stores have higher prices. It allows members of the community to have access to products without going to the nearest market town which may be far from the village itself.