Thailand tops internet usage charts
published : 6 Feb 2018 at 04:00
newspaper section: Business
writer: Suchit Leesa-nguansuk
Thailand is the world leader for time spent on the internet and mobile internet per day, a consequence of higher social media use and the popularity of online video consumption.
Thailand ranks in the top 10 for mobile social media penetration and top four for time spent on social media, according to social media management platform Hootsuite and global agency We Are Social.
The country ranked eighth globally for number of Facebook users, with Bangkok the city with the most active Facebook accounts.
The "Digital 2018 global overview", published in January, said Thais registered the most time on the internet last year at 9.38 hours per day, after the Philippines at 9.29 hours, Brazil (9.14), Indonesia (8.51) and South Africa (8.32).
Thais also spend the most time on mobile internet at 4.56 hours, followed by Brazil (4.21), Indonesia (4.17), the Philippines (4.13) and Nigeria (4.05).
In terms of mobile social media penetration (active accounts on top social networks in each country per capita), the global rate is 39%.
Thailand ranked eighth with 67%, behind the UAE at 92%, South Korea (84%), Taiwan (76%), Singapore (75%), Hong Kong (70%), Malaysia (69%) and Argentina (67%).
According to the survey, Thailand still ranked eighth in terms of active Facebook users, accounting for 2% of the global total, while Bangkok is the city with the largest number of active accounts -- 22 million.
Instagram penetration in Bangkok is 19%, compared with the worldwide average of 11%.
Kla Tangsuwan, managing director of Thoth Zocial Co, the Bangkok-based leading social listing service, said the number of Facebook users in Thailand had reached the saturation point with 48 million users last year, compared with 51 million internet users.
"Only very small children and the very elderly don't have accounts, as Facebook requires users to be at least 13 years old. Some users have multiple accounts -- at least 2-3," said Mr Kla.
In 2017, the number of Facebook users in Thailand increased to 48 million from 47 million users in 2016. The number of Instagram users grew to 13 million from 11 million during the same period.
In some countries like the US and Canada, the number of Facebook users is contracting, but not in Thailand.
"Facebook in Thailand is dominated by users 22-40 years old, though the number of users in their upper 50s is increasing, while Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Line TV will attract more teenagers," said Mr Kla.
Japanese and Korean celebrities use Twitter and other platforms with video content to communicate with their fans, he said.
Of Thailand's 48 million Facebook users, 32 million of them use the platform daily.
Globally, more than 2.1 billion people use Facebook every month and 1.4 billion people use it daily.
The company's business grew 47% year-on-year to US$40 billion (1.26 trillion baht).
Mr Kla said changes to Facebook's news feed, whereby more posts will be shown from friends and family members and less advertising and marketing content will appear, has increased costs for brands to reach target audiences, pushing them to branch out across platforms.
More importantly, brands need to use advertising tools for segmentation, which is based on users' interests or behaviour rather than demography, she said.
The content must be of better quality to garner user engagement.
While advertisers feel pressured to put out high-quality content to generate user engagement, chat engagement, which started last year, will also grow in importance in 2018, said Mr Kla.