E-Commerce Adoption and Its Impact on the Performance of Women-led MSMEs in Metro Manila: An Ex-ante Study for RCEP

January 27, 2022

This ex-ante study analyzes the impacts of e-commerce adoption on the performance of women-led micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Metro Manila, their awareness and perceptions of government efforts towards internationalization, and their readiness to engage in cross-border e-commerce through the Regional Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (RCEP). Findings validate the observation that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated e-commerce adoption and this has substantially enhanced the performance of women-led MSMEs in terms of sales growth, customer base, customer satisfaction, and process enhancement. The data further highlight that there is a low level of awareness on both existing government programs for women-led MSMEs, and on RCEP and its chapters on e-commerce and MSMEs. However, certain provisions within the chapters appeal to women-led MSMEs, such as "information on trade and investment-related laws and regulations for export-oriented MSMEs" and "acceptance of electronic transaction documents in online cross-border transactions". Women-led MSMEs in Metro Manila demonstrate a strong interest to engage in cross-border trade under RCEP if implemented in 2022. This study also further reveals that a high propensity for cross-border e-commerce—fostered by an enabling policy environment that supports their e-commerce adoption and growth—will potentially heighten the participation in regional trade and the global value chain.