Lazada vs Shopee: Comparing the Two Biggest Online Shopping Platforms in the Philippines

Updated: January 17, 2022

A week before the 11.11 sale, I did an online poll with my friends asking where they prefer to shop more: Lazada or Shopee. The results were surprising to me because I expected the votes to be almost equally split but Shopee got 80% of the votes.

Personally, I don’t have a preference. I usually search both platforms for the item I’m looking for and buy where it’s either cheaper or if I need it urgently, where the delivery time is faster. But doing the poll got me thinking about my online purchases and wondering where do I tend to shop more.

It turns out that I do buy more from Shopee. However, while I’ve bought more items in Shopee, I noticed that I’ve spent more on Lazada. It seems that for expensive items like that air fryer and HD webcam that I needed last year, I tend to buy in Lazada. But for smaller and cheaper items such as a soap dispenser, oximeter, and ring light, I end up buying them in Shopee.

This realization piqued my curiosity about the two biggest online shopping platforms in the Philippines. Are they simply two versions of the same thing or do they have significant differences? And more importantly, for the consumer, which one offers the better shopping experience? I checked and compared, and this is what I found out.

The Company

Lazada and Shopee both have headquarters in Singapore and mainly operate in the Southeast Asian Region. Interestingly, Lazada has more active users in the Philippines but Shopee has more active users overall in Southeast Asia. However, Shopee receives around 73 million web visits, which is almost twice bigger than Lazada’s online traffic.

The popularity of a shopping platform has its pros and cons, but it generally benefits the consumer by attracting many businesses to sell through them and thus providing more choices and a variety of products.

If a company fails to keep up with the demand from users, then that’s when problems and issues arise. We’ll mention some of these later for both platforms.

User Experience

A platform or app won’t last long if it’s difficult to use. Tech startups hire user experience engineers to precisely avoid, or at least minimize this problem. As for Lazada and Shopee, which one is easier and less confusing to use?

Their websites have a similar layout and are user-friendly, perhaps because online marketplace templates have already been optimized by web designers through the years. Shopping and checkout are also efficient for both websites. My friends and I agree though that Lazada’s layout seems to be less cluttered and easier to the eyes than Shopee’s website.

Most of our online shopping experience in Lazada and Shopee is done through the app. In fact, there are mobile-only deals and promos for both apps. And in this aspect, Lazada has the upper hand which is noticeably faster and easier to navigate.

One particular feature that I like in Lazada is that the Review section for listings can be easily accessed at the menu that appears on top of the screen when you scroll down a bit. For Shopee, you’ll have to scroll all the way down to the section.

This may not be a big deal for some, but I’ve had my fair share of experience in receiving low-quality and fake items from both platforms. Thus, the review and feedback section is now my first go-to section before I even read through the product information and other details.

Variety of Products

I can only assume that you can buy almost anything from both platforms, at least anything that you can legally purchase online. The two giants carry millions of products, which makes it almost a default for anyone to compare listings on both apps to see where it’s cheaper and faster in delivery.

Lazada has LazMall while Shopee has Shopee Mall, where products from reputable stores and brands are listed. From my observation, Lazada seems to have more accredited big brand stores and suppliers, while Shopee has more small suppliers and home-based sellers.

Moreover, I’ve noticed that there are more wholesalers in Shopee than in Lazada. Additionally, there are several second-hand or pre-loved items being sold in Shopee, which is something that I have yet to see in Lazada.

Price Comparison

The lure of shopping online is not only because it’s convenient, but because it’s often more affordable than buying the item at the mall. And the consensus among my friends is that Shopee offers lower prices than Lazada.

Shopee has a Lowest Price Guaranteed feature, which lives up to its name. And true to its reputation of being an “online Divisoria”, I’ve seen people haggle with sellers through the chat section.

However, I think the biggest reason why Shopee listings end up cheaper is because of the Shopee coins, which can be used like cash as compared to Lazada’s coins which can only be used to get vouchers and discounts. This was the reason why I made an effort to regularly play during their Live Quiz shows and win Shopee coins.

Furthermore, when it comes to sales and promos, it’s hard to compare which one has better deals, but it’s notable to mention that Shopee has been giving a lot of free shipping offers since the pandemic started.

Payment Options

Both platforms have an in-store e-wallet, which you can top up through various methods. They also both offer Cash-On-Delivery and Gcash as payment options. As of writing, only Shopee accepts Coins.ph as a payment method, while only Lazada accepts JCB and American Express credit and debit cards. Meanwhile, you can use Mastercard and Visa cards on both sites but for Shopee, this is limited to Preferred and Shopee Mall shops.

Nevertheless, Shopee offers more payment methods than Lazada, which includes paying through online banking (BPI, Unionbank, etc.), remittance and payment centers (Bayad Center, Palawan Pawnshop, etc.), over-the-counter bank deposits (BPI, Metrobank, etc.), and even through Google Play.

On the other hand, one advantage of Lazada over Shopee is the availability of installment payment plans, which even non-credit cardholders can take advantage of with the help of Billease, Cashalo, and other digital credit platforms. A friend mentioned that this installment feature is the reason why he could buy expensive appliances and gadgets through Lazada.

Delivery and Shipping

I live in Metro Manila, and from experience, there isn’t much difference in delivery times between the two platforms. But friends based in other parts of the country say that their Lazada orders arrive earlier in most cases, especially for international deliveries.

One less obvious difference between the two is that Lazada has a logistics infrastructure set up. They have wholly-owned warehouses and fulfillment centers around the country, which might explain why their delivery times are shorter and more reliable.

However, having that logistics infrastructure could be the reason why Lazada’s shipping fees tend to be higher than Shopee’s. Moreover, Lazada has fewer shipping options as compared to Shopee, so there’s less likely that you’ll get the best delivery rate in the market.

In general, if you want your item to arrive faster and you don’t mind paying a little bit more for shipping, then order from Lazada. If you want to pay less shipping fees and you don’t mind waiting a few extra days, then Shopee is your first choice.

Buyer Protection and Customer Service

Last but definitely not least is buyer’s protection and customer support.

There’s Shopee Guarantee that provides security for buyers against fraudulent sellers. Meanwhile, Lazada has Payment Protection, which covers unauthorized transactions. In this regard, I like Shopee Guarantee better.

Both platforms have order tracking. However, it’s easier with Lazada because its on-site tracking tool provides quick, real-time, and detailed status from its delivery service and logistics partners. In Shopee, you’d have to go to the third-party courier’s website to check where your items are.

Lazada and Shopee provide 24/7 customer support but from experience, it’s harder to return items bought from Shopee and you need to pay for the return fee in all cases. Returning or getting refunds from Lazada has been easier and faster for me. Additionally, Lazada offers free returns for some items, especially appliances and gadgets.

Final Thoughts

I hope this comparison between the two biggest shopping apps in the Philippines has helped you in your spending decisions.

I don’t think there’s any clear winner between the two. And that’s why I shop in both. But for items that are less than P1,000, I normally buy in Shopee. For more expensive items and those which I urgently need, I purchase them from Lazada.

One final tip for those thinking of buying something online. Check if the brand or company has its own online store. Because it’s always much better to buy directly from them on their website.

This article also appeared in MoneySense Magazine.

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15 comments

  1. Totally agree with you your comparison. I actually tend to buy more from Lazada, with the same reasons you mentioned. I still buy from Shopee for items I can’t find in Lazada. While it’s cheaper, I find it “riskier” and the platform a bit cluttered. Thus, Lazada is my go-to.

  2. We purchase a lot of small parts that are rather hard to find locally. While I have not put much thought into it, I have definitely noticed differences between the two selling platform. For some reason there may well be no sellers of what I need on one platform while the other might have dozens of choices. For different part, the reverse is true. I also have to be mindful of nomenclature. Many times I can ask in a local hardware store or search these two platforms with every term I know with no results. I have had the experience of spotting the exact item I want as I am on my way out of the retail store. With the on-line shops, it is “luck of the draw” as sometimes I accidently find something I am looking for grouped in with items used in the same industry group or used for somewhat similar purposes. Overall, most sellers we have dealt with are honest and deliveries have been within a reasonable time frame on both platforms.

  3. Recently, I’ve gravitated more to Lazada than Shopee, especially after Lazada introduced the cashback since I get to use the amount all at once. Shopee has been recently stingy with its coupons and coins and keeps on insisting to use Shopee Pay. In general, I feel like it’s way safer to shop in Lazada, especially with more expensive items. When I use shopee I tend to be more cautious since their product listings tend to be a hodgepodge of items with questionable quality. Like you have to dig in to see stuff with good quality. And it’s always a gamble when you order super cheap items in Shopee since you won’t know if you were nabudol until you see the items in person.

  4. -Shopee has installment plans called ShopeePay Later for verified users.
    -Shopee returns are free. I get refunds for the shipping fee. It’s not also hard to return the items given that you have all the necessary proof. Last year, I received a Poco M3 instead of the Tab S6 Lite I purchased. I was refunded and got to keep the phone which was worth 7k.
    -Shopee’s international shipping fees are very cheap (40) and sometimes they arrive faster than local.
    -ShopeePay can also be used in supermarkets and department stores and you can use the vouchers for cash backs.

    Those are from my experiences.

  5. I tend to buy a lot more from Lazada these days because delivery wise, lazada couriers/riders implement the door to door policy more despite your living area whereas in shopee, riders/couriers are more on the lazy side and even ask you to cancel your order because they dont want to deliver at your doorstep because it incovenience them.

  6. From July to Dec 2021, I completed 17 orders from Lazada vs 220 orders from Shopee. Two hundred twenty.

    The only items I buy from Lazada are those that I have less options of or can’t find on Shopee. Mostly phones and gadgets.

    Shopee’s coins system is way better, it’s more generous with vouchers, and there’s a way to gamify both resources for maximum savings. I’ve never paid full price for any item, and I’ve NEVER had to pay for shipping. With Lazada, it’s the opposite.

    Tracking is simple and convenient for both. It’s simply not true that you have to go to the courier’s website for Shopee, Fitz? It doesn’t make sense. Maybe update your app?

    Returns are painless and free for both; I’ve never encountered a “return fee”. Shopee offers pickup as an option in addition to branch dropoff. I only had to return an item to Lazada once, but they only offered the latter.

    Quality is about the same. There are crappy sellers and bogus listings on both sides but with enough diligence it’s easy to not fall for them. Reading reviews and visiting the shop’s page and other listings are key.

    Customer service is about the same too. It’s easier to ask for a rebate from Lazada but complaint tickets move quicker on Shopee.

    As for bills, right now Lazada offers up to ₱40 cashback per bill payment, maximum ₱120 per month. Shopee offers up to ₱180 cashback per bill, plus coins can be used to offset up to ₱200 off bills per day. Needless to say, our bills are paid on Shopee.

  7. It’s hard to refund items in Shopee when you get scammed by sellers or when sellers deliver defective items. Lazada is the best when it comes to refunds, you can get it in hours.

  8. ang pangit na ng lazada ngayon.. HAHAHA mas ok pa yung dating lazada. kaya now mas stable ako bumili sa shopee. mas mura mas magagamit mo coins. mas maraming free shipping mas maraming products. at higit sa lahat hindi mga GOOGLE TRANSLATE mga reviews ng mga customer. sa lazada ang daming fake buyers.

  9. One of the feature I like most in Lazada is the search using an image of the item you want to search. You simply scan or take picture, or use a saved photo of an item to search that item in Lazada. This is very useful if you dont know the exact keyword to use in searching the item. The image search feature will give a much more accurate search results.

  10. I used Shopee more because of its lower prices in most of the same items with the same seller. I also used it in paying my bills like Meralco, PLDT, Globe and Maynilad because of the coins. I can get 10%-20% with a maximum (cap) of about 150 coins to a much as 200 coins depending on the seller which can be used as discount on top of the store discounts and free delivery. 1 coin is equivalent to P1.00. I usually use the coins in paying my bills to get more discounts. While spending the coins, I also get new coins for paying the bills by using Shopeepay.

  11. I am a user of Lazada but my recent purchase with Lazada from their seller Light of City, change the way i feel about Lazada, i deleted all the items in my cart, i was never heard properly, i am not allowed to return according to the seller, after a long exchanging of messages with the seller i was given 5 tracking numbers for the return but on the day that i shipped the products for the return the seller told me that he will not refund, the products now all in good condition are with seller but i was not refunded and Lazads sent me a message that it was settked already, how was it settled??? I was not even heard properly, later on i discovered that i bought a fake product, i could not let this happen to anyone again, i feel i am being robbed in a different manner this time!!! I think the Philippine government has to regulate this online selling platform, this has to be regulated, the sellers have to be checked as well as their products, my last transaction with Lazada is only P5, 495.00 but how many thousands from the Filipino people can be put to waste if this platform cant be regulated, in department stores we are given the chance to replace items within a specific period but this seller, light of city, in Lazada is totally different, this seller took me as a joke, i am a buyer in good faith, i did receive products from Lazada that are nice, some are good some are fake some were incomplete but i did not complain, i did not return i just paid for it but this time, my first time to return a product and even begged several times for a replacement, i was rudely declined!!! This seller has no manners, i suggest that this platform has to be regulated by the government because they are selling to the Filipino people, their presentation should be like SHEIN and ZALORA where you can view the products in all sides for clarity.

  12. EXELENT
    What you compare 2 company’s is very professional and you show the truth.
    Me personal buying only from LAZADA. They are very professional. Also divery persons is very good.
    Why is LAZADA much better?
    1.If you have any problem you get fully support from LAZADA staff. Easy free return and money back in 24 h.
    Any problem solving in 30 min.
    In SHOPPY take you two days to calling office and explain what is reason they dont like to be in buyer said but sallers
    I fill that they more protect saller than buyers. This is one of the bigest reason why for me is LAZADA much better.
    Small differents in price is nothing to compere cost of travel sending negotiation….

  13. I transferred buying to shoppe.
    Lazada is not replying to customer’s problems.lazada
    Charges double the amount on your purchases ie…on credit cards..and cod..when asked why?
    Their emails remain dumb until now..
    Dont patronize LADADA…
    BEWARE !!!!!
    IM A VICTIM…

  14. I don’t buy on Shopee since there’s a lot of fake items in Shopee. You can really compare it eh. Lazada’s LazMall is really good, they live up to their tagline “100% Legit” plus I’m super happy they were able to get Big Bad Wolf!

    Shopee needs to up their game on customer support, logistics and decluttering their products. For me, Shopee is not a safe marketplace platform even if they have a lot of Free Shipping. Lazada has never failed me on my orders, always fast grabe! Minsan umaabot ng same day delivery, I don’t know how they do it, seriously. 😀

  15. This is very helpful though I have already picked my choice, Lazada. I have 3 reasons for that choice which you have also underline in the article. 1) Clutter item. I don’t have patience to go around looking for my item. Not like Lazada, specs and reviews are on place. 2) Delivery, shoppee delivery most of the time difficult to predict, while Lazada is easy to track. There online helpdesk is also helpful with inquiries 3) Return item, is a lot easier with Lazada. With Shopee, I tend just to ignore it. I don’t have patience to figure out their return. I have an impression their time limit is short for warranty. Yes price is also my deciding factor to buy however the ease, quick delivery and easy return with Lazada suffice. Yes it’s true that there were fake items in both stores but it’s on us to sense it. I caught and reported a lot of scammers in Lazada and a scammer attempted to fool me in Shopee.

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