[Battle of the Brands] Lazada vs Shopee: Which is the Better Online Shopping Site?
Published: August 5, 2021 | Updated: September 6, 2021 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Personal Finance
Where do you usually shop online? Chances are, Lazada and Shopee are among your go-to sites for buying products on the internet.
Indeed, these two e-commerce platforms dominate as online shopping destinations in the Philippines. Based on a Kantar Worldpanel survey, 84% of Filipinos would rather buy from established e-commerce companies despite having many more alternatives in the market.
The convenience and significance of online shopping were further highlighted last year when the pandemic started. Due to lockdowns implemented left and right, people were left with no alternative but to source their needs online.
It seems nothing will change over the next few years. Online shopping is here to stay, but you have to pick the platform that will give you wider options, more reliable service, and of course, value for money.
Which between Lazada vs Shopee is the better e-commerce platform in the Philippines? This comparison review should give you a glimpse on how each company fares in different aspects of e-commerce and customer service, so you can make an informed decision on where to shop online.
Table of Contents
- Business Models of Lazada vs Shopee
- Desktop and Mobile User Experience
- Product Range
- Sales and Promos
- Payment Options
- Buyer’s Protection
- Order Tracking
- Customer Support
- Return and Refund
- Lazada vs Shopee: Final Thoughts
Business Models of Lazada vs Shopee
Before we begin comparing Lazada vs Shopee, it’s important to first understand their business models, which affect their pricing, user experience, delivery speed, and other e-commerce features.
The two leading online shopping sites use different business models.
Lazada online shopping has a combination of retail and marketplace models. It started and continues to use a retail model in which it manages and sells inventory from its own warehouses. Eventually, it added a marketplace model, opening its doors to third-party merchants who sell their products using the e-commerce platform.
Shopee online shopping works a bit differently, adopting a purely marketplace model. This means all products sold on the site come from third-party retailers. Because it doesn’t have its own inventory or warehousing, it uses third-party logistics companies for product deliveries.
Lazada and Shopee also differ in terms of generating revenues. In addition to the sales from its retail business, Lazada charges third-party sellers a commission fee for every item sold through the site. On the other hand, Shopee doesn’t charge commissions. There’s no official information online on how exactly Shopee earns from its business.
Lazada is among the pioneers that made online shopping big in the Philippines. Thanks to its wide assortment of products at cheap prices, many Filipinos find the platform a great place to find what they need and want.
Shopee, on the other hand, came to the Philippines in 2015. And while it was relatively new, it slowly took market share from Lazada. As of the first quarter of 2021, Shopee has more than 54,600,000 monthly web visits, making it the most visited e-commerce shop in the country. Lazada comes second with monthly visits of 38,286,700. There is a difference of 16,313,300, which is undeniably a significant figure.
Lazada’s rank on the App Store is #2, while it’s #1 on the Google Play Store. Meanwhile, Shopee ranks #1 on the App Store and #2 on the Google Play Store.
Globally, it appears that Shopee is trying to gain market shares in the Western Hemisphere. In the first half of 2021, the online shopping brand launched in countries in the Americas, such as Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. This means that Shopee has a chance to become more popular beyond Asia in the coming years. This is something that Lazada has yet to do.
Desktop and Mobile User Experience
User experience in e-commerce refers to how easy it is to navigate a website and perform transactions such as order placement, tracking, cancellation, and refund.
Which Website is Easier to Use on Desktop?
Lazada and Shopee online shopping websites are user-friendly, complete with easy-to-search and varied shopping categories and filters (based on price range, brand, color, rating, etc.) that help visitors find the exact product they need.
Both of these e-commerce sites have a Help Center section (in question-and-answer format) that lets people easily find the information they need about transacting with the site. They also have their own built-in chat service that allows people to directly message sellers for inquiries.
Lazada takes it a step further with its “Questions About this Product” feature where prospective buyers can post questions about the product and get responses from the seller. Others can read the questions and answers on the product page, which help them make an informed buying decision.
Also, the whole transaction process—from browsing products and placing an order to paying for the purchase—is smooth on Lazada and Shopee.
Lazada needs to improve on the accuracy of its product search results, though. If you sort the items from the lowest to the highest prices, for instance, the first page shows some items that are not exactly on the search term.
Take this search for “air fryers” as an example. The cheapest items shown on the first page are not all air fryers. The search shows a water purifier, which is something the customer isn’t looking for.
Which Provides Better Mobile Experience: Lazada App or Shopee App?
The Lazada app loads faster and has a neater, more organized design than the Shopee app. Lazada’s products pages have more detailed and easy-to-read product descriptions with more images than its competitor.
The Lazada app is easier to navigate, too. When you open a product page, you can quickly go to sections like Ratings and Recommendations without scrolling down the page, as the links can be tapped on the top of the screen. This makes it easy for mobile users to find great deals on the product they’ll buy.
On the other hand, the Shopee app is quite cluttered. Its overall color, which is orange, makes the interface look packed and messy. Meanwhile, Lazada’s overall colorful scheme, which is white, is easy on the eyes. The color allows the user to easily read the text and ultimately find what they are looking for.
The Shopee app may be easy to browse, but it still needs improvement on its speed as its Home screen, search results, and images in product pages take quite a while to load.
The two e-commerce sites have the same range of products: men’s and women’s clothing, groceries, electronics, personal care, appliances, and more. Customers may even buy prepaid cellphone load from Lazada or Shopee.
Lazada has probably the widest range of products across different categories. As of this writing, the online shop claims that it has 300 million stock-keeping units (SKUs) available. Shopee obviously has millions of products, but there’s no specific number available. Looking at this comparison, it’s likely that you’ll find most of your preferred items on Lazada vs Shopee.
It’s also important to note that both brands have a mall; Lazada has LazMall while Shopee has Shopee Mall. Both malls are actually separate categories that only list products from authoritative, reputable, and high-quality partner brands. As such, customers will have all the assurance that what they’re buying is 100% authentic.
Both Lazada and Shopee offer a money-back guarantee if the customer receives a non-authentic product from their mall. But Lazada has an edge over Shopee in this area as it promises to give its customers five times their money back.
When it comes to returns, it appears that Lazada has friendlier terms. Lazada allows 15-days return for all LazMall products (except for non-returnable items). So, if you buy from LazMall and you realize that you’re not happy with it or you find that there’s a defect, you’re given 15 days to return it.
Shopee, on the other hand, only gives an allowance of seven days for returns.
Read more: Asia’s Top 5 Online Fashion Shops
Although both online shopping sites provide great deals, Shopee generally offers lower prices than its competitor, particularly on gadgets, clothes, toys, and bags. Selling cheaper items has earned Shopee the moniker “online Divisoria” among Pinoy online shopping enthusiasts. Shopee sellers are able to reduce their prices since they only have a small commission fee.
For example, you can find an iPhone 12 (128GB) on Shopee Mall that costs PHP 44,590. Meanwhile, the same iPhone on Lazada’s LazMall costs PHP 54,490. So, if you buy from Shopee, you get to save PHP 9,900, which is obviously a lot!
There are other reasons why Shopee is a more cost-saving option for online shoppers. For example, some of its sellers offer discounts to customers who buy in bulk. Customers can even haggle cheaper prices with sellers through chat.
Some merchants on Shopee sell second-hand or pre-loved items, providing more affordable options for shoppers on a tight budget.
Shopee also has a Lowest Price Guaranteed (LPG) feature. This gives shoppers 1.2x the value of the price difference via Shopee coins if they find the same product at a lower price from Shopee’s list of approved competitors, which includes Lazada and Zalora.
Sales and Promos
Both Lazada and Shopee tend to go all out when it comes to hosting big sales and promotions. Both companies already hosted successful online sales earlier this year with another big promotion this year, the 8.8 sale. Let’s take a look at what will happen during this year’s 8.8 sales.
Lazada 8.8 Love Local Sale
From August 8 to August 12, Lazada and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will highlight the best of the local shopping scene by featuring Filipino sellers and brands. Customers will also be able to score up to 88% discounts off items from fashion, electronics, and general merch that are proudly Pinoy. The sale also comes with free nationwide shipping with PHP 0 minimum spend.
Nevertheless, here are the sale schedules to watch out for not just on August 8 but also for the whole month:
- August 8-12 – Love Local Sale
- August 11 – LazMall Super Brand Opening featuring La Mer
- August 15-17 – Payday Sale
- August 19 – LazMall Super Brand Day featuring Adidas
Here are the participating brands on Lazada’s series of sales:
- Del Monte
- Joyce & Diana
- Lock & Lock
Shopee 8.8 Mega Flash Sale
Shopee’s 8.8 sale follows a different format. As the promo’s banner name suggests, there will be surprise sales, such as PHP 8 flash deals and midnight flash deals. The 8.8 sale also comes with free shipping capped at up to PHP 55 with PHP 0 minimum spend.
Here are the eight things to expect from the upcoming Shopee 8.8 sale:
- 8.8 vouchers up for grabs starting August 7 at 9:00 p.m
- Hourly flash deals on August 9 across different product categories
- Midnight super deals starting at 12 midnight to one o’clock in the morning
- Mega brands flash sales that will feature big brands from different categories
- All-Day Deals including PHP 8 deals where select products are priced at PHP 8
- Mega Flash Sale TV Special where over PHP 8,000,000 worth of prizes will be given away, plus a chance to win up to PHP1,000,000 cash prize
- Play Shopee Candy and Shopee Bubble for a chance to win PHP 50,000 to PHP 100,000 worth of ShopeePay credits
- Shopee Fam Flash Race where you may win up to PHP 100,000
Below are the participating brands at Shopee’s grand 8.8 sale
- Pampers Diaper
- Enfagrow A+
- Family Guard Disinfectant
- Western Appliances
- Klean Kanteen
This is because Shopee’s 8.8 sales and promotions are diverse, and it give customers a chance to take home exciting prizes.
Lazada and Shopee offer a variety of payment options for customers. Both websites accept cash on delivery (COD), as well as credit card, debit card, and GCash payments. They also have their own in-store digital wallet for purchase transactions and receiving and storing refunds.
Which Company Offers More Payment Options?
Shopee payment options have more methods than Lazada, though. Shopee customers can pay for their online purchases through online banking, over-the-counter bank deposit, Coins.ph, remittance centers, and payment centers.
Lazada payment options currently don’t have those methods for customers. The e-commerce company used to accept payments through PayPal, but it has discontinued this payment option.
However, Lazada offers a flexible payment method that Shopee doesn’t: installment payment plans that can be used with or without a credit card. For a minimum purchase of PHP 3,000 at Lazada, you can have your payments spread out over three to 36 months.
|Cash on delivery||Yes ||Yes|
|In-store e-wallet||Yes (Lazada Wallet)||Yes (ShopeePay)|
|Credit/debit card||Yes (Mastercard, Visa, JCB, American Express)||Yes (Mastercard and Visa card for Preferred and Shopee Mall shops)|
|Online banking||No||Yes (via BPI Express Online or Mobile, UnionBank, Metrobank, RCBC, Landbank, PNB, Robinsons Bank, Chinabank, and UCPB)|
|Installment payment plans||Yes (via Billease / Cashalo / InvesTed/ Juanhand / Paylater / TendPay / UnaPay for non-credit cardholders and BPI / Metrobank / Citibank for credit cardholders)||No|
|Remittance/Payment centers||No||Yes (Bayad Center, SM Bills Payment, Robinsons Department Store, 7-Eleven CLiQQ, ECPay, M Lhuillier, Cebuana Lhuillier, LBC, Palawan Pawnshop, and RD Pawnshop )|
|Over-the-counter bank deposit||No||Yes (BPI, Metrobank, Chinabank, Eastwest Bank, UnionBank, RCBC, Security Bank, UCPB, Landbank, and Robinsons Bank)|
- Complete Guide to Lazada Wallet for Online Shoppers
- ShopeePay Guide: How to Shop Seamlessly Online with Shopee
- It’s Possible: How to Shop Online Even Without a Credit Card
Lazada vs Shopee: COD Restrictions
Do you prefer the security you get from using COD to pay for your online purchases? Manage your expectation: COD isn’t available for all items, sellers, and locations in the Philippines. This goes for both Lazada and Shopee.
Sellers on both platforms may choose to enable or disable the COD option for customers for all or some of their products. Also, COD may not be offered in your shipping address.
COD on Lazada follows some specific rules. For instance, this mode of payment is only available for orders below PHP 25,000. COD will also be removed as a payment method when buyers refuse to accept COD parcels or there are repeated incidents of failing to receive the package after the second delivery attempt.
Shopee has a similar rule. Buyers who have two or more failed COD orders will not be able to use the COD function. The said payment option will be suspended for 90 days.
In terms of promised delivery time, the two e-commerce sites don’t differ much, except for Shopee’s longer overseas delivery time and Lazada’s longer delivery time for shipments to Mindanao via sea.
Here’s Lazada’s and Shopee’s expected delivery time frame for standard deliveries in the Philippines:
|Metro Manila||2 to 3 days||1 to 3 business days|
|Luzon||3 to 5 days||3 to 8 business days|
|Visayas||5 to 7 days||3 to 9 business days|
|Mindanao||3 to 9 business days|
|Anywhere in the Philippines (international deliveries)||8 to 17 days||7 to 16 business days|
Which Delivers Faster?
But when it comes to actual deliveries, this is where Lazada beats its main competitor. Orders usually arrive within the given delivery time frame or even earlier than expected. Some customers even receive their orders within 24 hours.
Shipping is a hit or miss at Shopee, depending on the logistics provider used for delivery. Deliveries via Grab Express and Ninja Van are fast, according to feedback from Shopee customers posted online.
However, many customers complain about receiving their package in one to two weeks, especially those delivered via Shopee’s logistics partner Black Arrow.
Which Provides Same-Day Delivery?
Both e-commerce sites offer express delivery options to customers who need their orders ASAP.
Lazada can deliver on the same day an order is placed before 1 p.m. This service is available in select areas of Greater Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Cebu, and Davao. Delivery fees start at PHP 96 and may vary based on the item’s weight and size.
Lazada’s same-day delivery service is available only for products from Lazada’s own inventory and shipped by Lazada itself (tagged on the site as “Sold and Fulfilled by Lazada”). There are also package size and weight restrictions for this delivery option.
Shopee offers express delivery through its logistics partner Shopee Xpress, which delivers within one to three business days. Shipping fee may vary based on the size of the item being delivered.
Note: The schedule of deliveries heavily depends on the prevailing conditions of the day of the delivery. There will obviously be a delay during inclement weather. Furthermore, the pandemic has affected the dynamics of the delivery industry, so you may experience some changes in schedules without prior notice.
Which Has Cheaper Shipping Fees?
If there’s a huge letdown for Lazada customers, it’s the site’s expensive shipping fees. This may be the trade-off for its fast delivery time. Strangely, shipping fees for some items are higher than the product price.
Lazada launched new shipping rates effective March 2021. Rates have become cheaper, starting at PHP 41.50 (previously at PHP 45). You can check the new rate card here. Keep in mind, though, that this rate is only applicable to products with lower weight bands.
Shopee, on the other hand, gives sellers the liberty to set shipping fees. This means that shipping could be free, or there could be discounts for a minimum order if the seller is generous and considerate enough. As such, customers tend to pay cheaper shipping fees on Shopee vs. Lazada.
Winner: Tie (Lazada for delivery speed; Shopee for shipping cost)
A noteworthy feature that gives Shopee an edge over Lazada is its Shopee Guarantee. It gives customers a sense of security over their purchases, protecting them against fraudulent sellers and fake or defective items.
Shopee Guarantee works by holding the payment to a seller and releasing it only when the buyer confirms receiving the order in good condition. If the item turns out to be unacceptable, the buyer can request for return via the Shopee app. Shopee also gives buyers a one-time, three-day extension of the Shopee Guarantee period if they have yet to receive their orders.
Lazada doesn’t have such a feature. Instead, it has the Lazada Payment Protection that “protects and covers you from unauthorized transactions made using your Lazada Wallet, saved credit/debit cards, and/or saved bank account.” Oddly though, Lazada doesn’t specify how this feature actually helps customers.
Both Lazada vs Shopee enable customers to track their orders online. On their respective sites, it’s easy to view which orders are pending for payment, being processed, shipped/ready for shipping, and delivered.
However, checking an order’s status is easier with Lazada. Its on-site order tracking tool provides quick, real-time, and detailed status from its own delivery service and logistics partners without having to go to the third-party provider’s website (though there’s also an option to use the third-party courier’s website to track an order status).
When you shop with Shopee, you’ll have to check the website of the third-party courier for your order status. This can be quite a hassle if you have multiple orders to be delivered by different logistics providers.
Lazada also has a system that consistently notifies customers through SMS and email when to expect their order and when the package is on its way. Sometimes, Lazada’s delivery personnel calls or texts to inform the customer that they’re about to deliver the goods.
A good e-commerce retailer provides multiple ways for customers to reach the company for questions, feedback, and complaints.
Customers can chat with CLEO, Lazada’s 24/7 virtual customer care officer. But if there’s a Customer Care Specialist available, you can get in touch with them 24/7 (except for holidays). You can also call Lazada from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (except for holidays). Lazada has also created a Facebook page called Lazada Peers PH where shoppers can get advice from their fellow customers. It’s basically a support community.
On the other hand, Shopee can be reached through phone (weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. only) and chat (available 24/7 in-app only). It’s also quick to respond to messages sent via Facebook Messenger.
Return and Refund
Based on feedback posted by customers online, it’s easier to return an item to Lazada vs Shopee. With Lazada, customers dissatisfied with their order can fill out a return request form online, drop off the item at the courier, pay for the delivery fee, and wait for the replacement or refund.
Returning items to Shopee can be a little complicated and even frustrating. Once the issue is raised, a Shopee agent will be automatically assigned to review the case. Some cases may even require “evidence” to complete the return or refund request. Check out Shopee’s procedures linked below this article.
Lazada vs Shopee: Final Thoughts
So, which between the two leading online shopping sites in the Philippines is better: Lazada or Shopee?
It depends on your priorities as a shopper. If you want to save more on your purchases (including shipping costs), Shopee is the better place to shop. If you prefer to have items delivered fast, then go with Lazada.
Both e-commerce companies have their pros and cons, so it’s best that you compare their prices, products, services, etc. when you do your shopping online.
-  The Map of E-Commerce Philippines
-  The Shopee Business Model – How Does Shopee Make Money
-  Lazada’s New Shipping Rates
-  Shopee’s New Return/Refund Process
Venus is the Head of Content at Moneymax, with 15+ years of experience in digital marketing, corporate communications, PR, and journalism. She invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Outside of work, she’s crazy about cats and Korean dramas. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.