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Proven Online Business Ideas in the Philippines in 2024: Facts and Figures

Last updated: May 15, 2024
Written by: Digido Financial Writers Team | Reviewed by: Anna Kireeva

Key takeaways:

  • The Philippines offers diverse online business opportunities
  • Understanding local preferences, like a high demand for cash-on-delivery, is crucial for success in the Filipino market
  • The initial costs might be comparatively low, or they can run into the hundreds of thousands of pesos
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Online Business Ideas Philippines

Entrepreneurship in the Philippines might be associated with small local offline ventures — at least, because 44% of the citizens remain unbanked (1). However, it doesn’t mean you cannot begin an online business and find a way to deliver digital services to locals, travelers, and customers abroad.

General Ideas of Online Business in the Philippines

The business ideas we suggest in this article are the result of a thorough market research. However, no research can give an ultimate reply to the question ‘What are the best online business ideas in the Philippines’?

Thus, a couple of notes:

  • All figures we give are estimations: the actual costs and earnings can differ depending on various factors, such as the scale of the business, the chosen niche, competition, and your marketing efforts.
  • The initial cost estimations we give do not include some general expenses or unnecessary spending you might opt for. So, every price breakdown will lack:
Business plan and strategy development Free to Php 28,565.00 if you do it yourself or hire a consultant.
Market research Free to Php 17,139.00, depending on whether you use free resources or pay for market reports.
Taxation Will depend on your business form and your income. For example, here we described freelancer tax rules in the Philippines.
Advertising and marketing Approximately Php 11,426.00 to Php 57,130.00 per month for online advertising, social media marketing, and promotions
Technology Small expenses related to running online websites and apps: servers, domain names might vary from Php 300.00 to Php 30,000.00. 

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Best 5 Online Business Ideas in the Philippines

Here are the most interesting and promising business ideas that you might like. We’ve gathered all the details, essential for a beginning businessman: initial investment, potential earnings, advantages, and disadvantages.

Online Businesses

1. Dropshipping Service

  • Initial Investment: from Php 10,000.00 to Php 5,000,000.00
  • Potential Earnings: up to Php 5,000,000/00

Dropshipping is a retail method where a seller doesn’t keep the products in the in-house storage. Instead, when a customer purchases a product, a seller orders this product in a third-party store. This store ships the purchase directly to the customer.

How to Organize?

Philippines dropshipping business is challenging. There are two things that make it complicated: first, big stores like Lazada that can boast super quick delivery. Second, a large number of Filipinos do not own credit cards for online payments. So, their favorite option is cash on delivery – at least, for 86% of online shoppers.

The answer to these problems will be to find a local dropshipping service with quick delivery and cash payment options. For example, some entrepreneurs recommend CJDropshipping.

Once you find the service, you also need to consider a platform where you can display the goods. The options include:

  • Your store at a big marketplace like Shopee or Lazada.
  • Facebook or Instagram account.
  • A store based on a ready eCommerce platform like Shopify or WooCommerce.

Now, the most important question – what shall you dropship? Let’s not rely on speculations and simply check statistics: here are the top popular eCommerce items in the Philippines as of 2023 (2):

Popular eCommerce items

How Much Does It Cost?

Here is a quick estimation of costs. To make it more precise, let’s use the example of an electronics store.

✅ Your shop expenses. A Shopify or WooCommerce-based site might cost from Php 11,000.00 to Php 170,000.00, depending on the features you use and your store size. If you opt for Shopee and Lazada, you will need to pay processing fees from 1% to 5% (3). Running a Facebook or Instagram store will be basically free, but other costs might arise — for example, product samples for content creation.

✅ Product samples. You can make it easy and simply to dropship through your chosen provider. However, you might also want to make unique images with the goods you sell, or personally ensure their quality. The product sample prices will obviously differ but as we took an electronics shop as the example, let these costs vary from Php 11,000.00 to Php 30,000.00. All in all, the total business startup costs for a dropshipping service will be from Php 30,000.00.

How Much Will I Earn?

Earnings can vary significantly, with some dropshippers making a few thousand pesos and others making up to approximately Php 5,000,000 (4).
Overall, you can count on the average dropshipping profit margin of 15%–20%.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Low initial costs: no need to invest in warehouse or inventory Online payment issues: most Filipinos prefer cash-on-delivery, so you need to find a provider who accepts it, too
Scalable: you can add any products your provider can ship Big competition: you need to find a provider who can ship quicker or at least not longer than most Lazada or AliExpress shops
Beginner-friendly: there are many out-of-the-box solutions for dropshippers on the global market Less overall control: you can’t personally check the quality of all delivered products and the quality of service

Dropshipping Service

2. Online Shopping

  • Initial investment: from Php 11,000.00 to Php 28,000.00
  • Potential earnings: from Php 2,856.50 to Php 428,775.00

This idea is pretty evident: you are suggested to sell goods online — not dropship, — and create your own storage. This makes sense if you produce some goods yourself, otherwise, being a dropshipper is much easier.

As per statistics, the revenue in handicrafts market in the Philippines is forecast to grow to 4.2% until 2026 (5) due to increasing demand and popularity for locally made products, so it seems we are on the right track.
The biggest question is what you can sell. To answer this, we checked some statistics on the most popular items in the handicrafts market. Here is what we found out:(6)

  • basket weaving;
  • pottery;
  • candles;
  • paper-mache;
  • leathercraft.

How to Organize?

Once you decide on what to produce, you need to consider the options for selling your goods. This may involve local marketplaces like Lazada and Shopee, your own store opened via Facebook or Instagram, or an online store based on an Ecommerce platform (see the dropshipping chapter). And, as you already know from the dropshipping part, offering cash-on-delivery can make you more competitive. Besides, you will need to spend time and money on production.

How Much Does It Cost?

Of course, it will depend on the niche you pick. Let’s consider it by the example of an online candle store.

✅ Equipment: around 11,000.00 Php to 28,000.00 Php for melting pots, thermometers, pour pots, molds, etc., depending on quality and quantity.
✅ Shipping and handling: approximately 2,856.00 Php to 17,000.00 Php per month for packaging materials and courier services, depending on the number of orders.

How Much Will I Earn?

Here is how your potential earnings may vary:

✅ Average selling price (according to price comparison of the popular candle stores): Php 300.00 to Php 1,700.00 each.
✅ Monthly net profit: Php 2,856.50 to Php 428,775.00.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Growing market: there’s a rising demand for handmade and artisanal products, including candles Time commitment: candle-making, as well as all other types of handcraft, can be time-intensive, especially if you’re managing all aspects of the business yourself
Low entry barrier: starting a candle business can be relatively low-cost, especially if operated from home Inconsistent revenue: sales can fluctuate seasonally or due to market trends, affecting consistent income

Food Delivery Service

3. Food Delivery Service

  • Initial investment: from Php 50,000.00 to Php 200,000.00
  • Potential earnings: from Php 75,000.00 to Php 255,000.00

First, is this idea viable? According to statistics, it seems so: in 2023, almost 20 mln Filipinos ordered meal delivery, and more than 17 million users registered for grocery delivery. So, the market exists and it is competitive. As Faye Loraine, Filipino mentor and entrepreneur, puts it on her YouTube channel:

“I know we already have Grab Food and Food Panda [Asian meal delivery services], but if you try to make things easier for clients — for example, let them book a subscription to meal delivery for a month, I believe there will be customers willing to pay for this service.”

How to Organize?

Food delivery service as an online business idea has nothing to do with opening your own restaurant. Instead, you perform as an aggregator, which involves:

  1. Partnering with local restaurants and negotiating deals with them. As a result, all orders coming from your service will be paid off by some commission.
  2. Creating an app or a website. Your aggregator must have a strong digital base and be convenient for users.
  3. Hiring couriers. The most convenient way in the Philippines is to hire a motorcycle rider. If your delivery zone is not big, you can also go with bicycle delivery. To cut initial costs, you can contract with an existing courier service instead of hiring your own personnel.

How Much Does It Cost?

✅ App or site development. Developing an app or website could range from Php 50,000.00 to Php 200,000.00  depending on the complexity. Of course, you will skip this part if you are skilled enough to develop a site yourself or use no-code app constructors.
✅ Delivery. Depending on your agreement with a particular courier service, you might pay from Php 40.00 to Php 100.00 per delivery. Hiring your own drivers will result in bigger spending: a monthly salary for each might begin with Php 22,796.00, plus fuel expenses.(7)
✅ Customer service. Again, to make this less costly, you can outsource it. The price for contact center service in the Philippines is Php 517.00 to Php 917.00 per hour on average.(8)

How Much Will I Earn?

According to Statista’s report, the potential earnings for an online food service might vary from Php 75,000.00 to Php 255,000.00. This involves:

✅ Delivery fees. Typically, Php 40.00 to Php 100.00 per delivery, depending on distance.
✅ Commission from restaurants. Usually, the percentage of the order value is around 10% to 20%.
✅ Extra earnings. Income from featuring restaurants or ads on your platform.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
High demand: with the rise of the on-demand economy, there’s a growing preference for convenience Costs: initial and ongoing costs can be significant, including technology development, marketing, and operational expenses
Flexible business model: you can operate with various models, like partnering with existing riders or employing your own fleet Operational challenges: managing logistics, ensuring food quality during transit, and dealing with customer complaints can be complex

Online Travel Service

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4. Online Travel Service

  • Initial investment: from Php 20,000.00 to Php 100,000.00
  • Potential earnings: from Php 23,280.00 per month

At first, this might sound like a bad idea: according to a survey by Rakuten Insight in the Philippines conducted in June 2023, 27% of the pollees stated they preferred traditional travel agencies over online ones.
The good news is that inbound tourism (when you host tourists from abroad) is more than live and in demand: the Philippines’ inbound tourism market size has shown significant growth, and the industry is forecast to grow to 10.80% from 2024 to 2034.(9)

So, to sum up: no need to work for locals — open your travel service to foreign travelers.

How to Organize?

The simplest option that does not require special skills is to organize a user-friendly online platform with tours to sell and make agreements with local hotels to organize accommodations, guides, and drivers to organize excursions.
Alternatively, you can contract with local tour operators who will provide you with all the turnkey services, and you will earn a commission as an agent.

How Much Does It Cost?

✅ Website development. A professional website could range from Php 20,000.00 to Php 100,000.00, depending on features and complexity.
✅ Business registration. Besides standard procedures, you may need additional permits, such as accreditation from the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), if you plan to issue airline tickets.
✅ Staff. If you are going to organize tours, you will need guides and drivers. An average guide’s salary is Php 252.50, and drivers’ salaries are around 103.00 Php per hour.

How Much Will I Earn?

✅ Commission from bookings. Online travel agencies typically earn a commission of 10% to 20% on bookings.
✅ Service fees. You can charge fees for specialized travel planning and consultation services.
✅ Partnerships and deals. Income from exclusive deals with hotels, airlines, and tour operators.

According to job listings, the average salary of a travel agent in the Philippines is Php 23,280.00 per month. So, this is what you can count on if you work solo.

Freelance Digital Jobs Arbitrage

5. Freelance Digital Jobs Arbitrage

  • Initial investment: not needed
  • Potential earnings: from Php 37,144.00 per month

In this part, we are not even limited by the Philippines. Once you have skills or are ready to learn, you can start the business under self-employment terms.
How to define the best business ideas in this case? The best way is to be based on what jobs are most popular worldwide.
According to Forbes (10), here are the top popular skills on demand for freelancers in 2024:

  • website development;
  • mobile app development;
  • social media content and management;
  • video editing;
  • AI services.

However, we can’t call it ‘business’ in the familiar sense. So, what if you lack all these skills? Here is another online business idea in the Philippines (and anywhere else, in fact): earning by reselling freelance orders, also known as ‘service arbitrage’. It involves purchasing freelance services at a lower rate and selling them at a higher rate.

How to Organize?

✅ Find reliable freelancers. Look for freelancers who offer quality services at competitive rates. Platforms like Fiverr and Upwork are good places to start.
✅ Media. Use platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram to connect with potential clients.
✅ Mark up prices. Purchase services from freelancers and sell them to your clients at a higher price, ensuring you add a margin for your profit.

How Much Does It Cost?

Basically, you don’t need investments unless we count your Internet connection and electrical supply bills.

How Much Will I Earn?

Suppose you decided to start service arbitrage in the video editing niche. Here are the approximate figures:

✅ Cost Price: Php 37,145.00 for a 10-hour project.
✅ Selling Price: Php 55,717.00.
✅ Profit: Php 18,572.00.

If you can handle, for example, 20 projects like this, your earnings can make Php 37,144.00 per month.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Low overhead costs: you only pay for services when they are purchased, which can keep initial costs zero Quality control issues: since you’re not the one providing the service directly, maintaining consistent quality can be challenging
Flexibility: this business model offers the flexibility to work from anywhere and choose the services you want to offer Dependency on freelancers: your business is reliant on the reliability and availability of freelancers, which can be unpredictable

Why Do You Need to Start an Online Business

If you read until here, you might be pretty aware of the reasons why you want to open your online business. To clear up any doubts, we will give you some more:
Global reach. Your products or services can travel across oceans and time zones to reach customers far and wide.

Cost-effective. You can save on the expenses of a physical store or office.
Data-driven decisions. Online platforms offer analytics that help you understand customer behavior, allowing for smarter business strategies.
Scalable. It’s easier to scale an online business, as you can grow your operations without the need for physical expansion.
Automated. Many aspects of online businesses can be automated, from marketing to inventory management, freeing up your time to focus on growth.

How to Choose Online Business in the Philippines

Here are three main steps to take when choosing between the best online business ideas in the Philippines:

  1. Perform market research. Understand the local market demands. Look into what Filipinos are buying online and identify gaps you can fill.
  2. Analyze competition. Check out who’s already doing well in your chosen niche. Learn from their successes and mistakes.
  3. Think about legal compliance. Ensure you’re aware of the legal requirements for starting an online business in the Philippines, including business registration and taxes.
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If you lack capital to launch your business, you can take out a loan. Digido offers you to obtain up to Php 25,000.00 with 0% interest rate. The only document you need is a valid government ID. Here you can take money for any purposes: starting a business, repairing a house or undergoing a medical examination. Your request will be processed in just 4 minutes. You can get approval even with a bad credit history.

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The key areas for online business in the Philippines include e-commerce, freelance, dropshipping, sales, tourism, and food delivery services. Most of them do not require significant investments, are easy to scale, and beginner-friendly.

Online business ideas in the Philippines FAQs

  • 🔸 What are the initial investment and potential earnings for dropshipping in the Philippines?
    Initial investment can begin with Php 10,000.00, with potential earnings up to Php 5,000,000.00.
  • 🔸 What challenges might one face when starting a dropshipping business in the Philippines?
    The main challenges include competition with big stores like Lazada, and the preference of Filipinos for cash-on-delivery due to low credit card ownership.
  • 🔸 Can you start an online shopping business in the Philippines without dropshipping?
    Yes, creating your own storage and selling goods online is an option, especially if you produce the goods yourself.
  • 🔸 What are the potential earnings for an online food delivery service?
    The potential earnings might range from Php 75,000.00 to Php 255,000.00.
  • 🔸 Is online travel service a viable business idea in the Philippines?
    Yes, despite some locals preferring traditional travel agencies, there is a growing market for inbound tourism, making it a viable business for foreign travelers.
Disclaimer and Editor’s note


Digido Financial Writers Team is a team of experts in the field of finance and credit, specializing in writing articles for Digido blogs.
Anna Kireeva
Author pages:
Anna is a marketing communications professional who specializes in digital marketing strategies and long-form content.

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