E-commerce value gauged at B2.8tn
Online retail sales pacing local growth
Thailand's e-commerce value is projected to reach 2.8 trillion baht this year, growing 9.8% from last year thanks to the popularity of online retail commerce (B2C).
For the first time, Thailand's B2C market in 2016 was the largest in Asean with a value of US$19.6 billion (652 billion baht), followed by Malaysia at $17.5 billion, Vietnam ($5.57 billion), Indonesia ($5.29 billion) and Singapore ($4.13 billion).
Citing a survey on Thailand's e-commerce, Surangkana Wayuparb, the executive director of the Electronic Transaction Development Agency (ETDA), said e-retail in Thailand last year accounted for 1% of the total retail market, compared with 8.6% in the global market, leaving ample room for growth. ETDA aims to reach 2% of the total retail market within two years.
The survey on Thailand's e-commerce value covered 592,996 e-commerce players, including B2B (business-to-business), B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2G (business-to-government) transactions.
In 2016, Thailand's e-commerce market was worth 2.5 trillion baht, up 14% from 2015, of which B2B accounted for 60.2%, B2C made up 27.5% and B2G was 12.3%.
Local e-commerce growth in 2016 was mainly driven by B2C, which increased 37.9%, while B2G gained 21% and B2B grew 15.5%.
Meanwhile, Thailand's e-commerce market in 2017 is estimated to grow by 9.86% to 2.8 trillion baht. Of the total value, B2B is forecast to account for 60%, while B2C and B2G are projected at 28.9% and 11.6%, respectively.
Mrs Surangkana said local e-commerce value has been growing in almost every industry on account of government efforts, including support to farmers and local business operators. More entrepreneurs have added online distribution channels to their businesses.
There is also intense competition from large foreign e-commerce players from China, South Korean, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, all of which have invested in e-marketplace, e-logistics, and e-payment systems in Thailand.
Meanwhile, the 2017 survey shows the most five popular online activities are social media, email, watching TV/listening to music and online shopping.
"For the first time ever, online shopping became one of the five most popular activities in 2016, up from 8th place in 2015. Thais are more open to e-commerce," said Mrs Surankana.
The most popular social-media platforms among Thais are YouTube, Facebook, Line, Instagram, Pantip, Twitter and WhatsApp.
Online advertising, product reviews and promotions ranked among the most popular search engine results, all of which prompted Thais to visit e-commerce sites.
Millennials, on average, spent the longest amount of time online -- 7.12 hours per day.
Convenience, speed, on-time delivery, promotions, being cheaper than brick-and-mortar shops and exclusive product offerings were listed as the top reasons people shopped online.
The highest price consumers were willing to spend online free of worry was 1,185 baht.
The survey found that 40.7 % of respondents had never bought products or used any service online. The key reason cited was the fear of fraud.
For those who do shop online, 44% bought clothes and accessories. Some 26.5% of that segment bought IT products, 19.5% purchased household appliances, 18.7% bought food and 17.9% purchased tourism-related services.
The most common form of payment for online transactions is credit cards at 35.1%, banking mobile applications (31.9%), ATMs (27%) and transfers via banks' websites (22.6%). Offline payments were still popular among 69.1% of respondents.
Regarding online shopping problems, 52% of respondents said the quality of products was not always as advertised, while 43.8% reported delivery delays.