Social Media Trends 2019: Part 3 – Could Thailand Become a Cashless Society?

Consumers in Thailand spent over 7 billion dollars on e-commerce in 2018, according to newly published research. Travel and accommodation account for the lion’s share of that spending ($4.14 billion annually) among all the different categories of products and services. Perhaps surprisingly, music makes up the smallest sector for e-commerce in Thailand ($45 million).

With these numbers representing significant increases over previous years, it is realistic to ask whether Thailand may become a cashless society in the future. Certainly the technology for secure payment is here, and popular platforms for instant cashless transactions are on their way. Thai people have furthermore shown great enthusiasm for embracing digital technology thus far, and all signs point to greater online economic activity in the future.

As greater numbers of retailers and service suppliers have moved to digital platforms, it is now simpler than ever for people to buy or search online for commodities. Beyond the convenience of shopping from the comfort of home, e-commerce also allows consumers to simply and easy compare products’ functions and prices at the same time – sometimes even on the same webpage.

Who are the 57 million internet users in Thailand?

  • Of the 57 million internet users in Thailand, 82% are Thai citizens – and 90% are active users, accessing the internet every day.
  • Men and women in Thailand use the internet in roughly equal numbers. The numbers of Facebook active profiles for male and female users, given as an example, are virtually equal.
  • People between 25-34 years old make up the largest social media audience, based on combined data from Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger.

Online shopping behaviors

  • Among active internet users in Thailand, 90% search for products or services online, while 85% visit online retail stores, and 80% have successfully made an online purchase.
  • People prefer to complete their transactions via mobile devices rather than via laptops.
    • Statistics revealed that 74% of Thai people use mobile banking, while 47% make mobile payments, and 71% purchase items online using mobile phones.

Thailand’s annual e-commerce expenditure has been growing enormously in every category. Purchases of food and personal care products has shown the biggest increase (30%) this year, while the other categories have grown at the following rates:

  • Toys, DIY and homes: 25%
  • Travel: 28%
  • Furniture & Appliances: 22%
  • Fashion & Beauty: 17%
  • Video games: 12%
  • Digital music: 4.6%

  • 37.5 million consumers in Thailand purchased goods online last year, representing an increase of 6.5% over the previous year. E-commerce revenue grew by 23% over the same period.

As e-commerce continues to provide a more convenient alternative to brick-and-mortar stores, greater numbers of offline stores will need to restructure their businesses towards selling products online. Some offline newspaper and magazine firms are even closing down in Thailand, unable to compete with their digital counterparts. Marketing companies have long since realized that their futures depend on how well they can adapt themselves to a world of online platforms.

Although a life without cash money is attainable today for those who make the effort, soon it may become the more convenient option – even for small transactions like buying snacks from sidewalk vendors. As the cashless alternative spreads in both opportunity and popularity, we may find it easier to embrace a world where digital spending is standardized and paper money begins to feel as outdated as paper magazines and newspapers.

Whether this outcome arrives in 5 years or 20, the trend is clear: Greater numbers of shoppers are using the internet to browse and buy the latest goods in all major retail sectors. For companies in Thailand to succeed in this new marketing landscape, they will need effective strategies that are specifically tailored for success in the digital world.

Lexicon is a full-service digital marketing agency in Bangkok, Thailand. We specialize in corporate storytelling and produce all of our content in-house, including branding,  copywritingvideo production and graphic design. We bring all of our services together and use Digital PR and social media marketing storytelling to connect our clients with the ideal target audience.

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