Online-based economy to skyrocket through 2025
Thailand's digital economy is expected to reach US$37 billion (1.17 trillion baht) by 2025, out of $200 billion in Southeast Asia, of which e-commerce and ride-hailing services comprise the major share, according to a study by Google and Temasek.
"Thailand's digital economy is at an inflection point for growth as the country has emerged with a strong user base and infrastructure readiness," said Ben King, country director of Google Thailand.
Citing research entitled "Google and Temasek e-Conomy Southeast Asia", he said Thailand's internet economy, which is made up of four sectors, was on track to have value of $10 billion in 2017, up from $5.8 billion in 2015.
The four sectors are e-commerce, online travel, online media and ride-hailing service.
Mr King said Thailand's e-commerce and ride-hailing sectors showed strong growth in 2017, doubling in their sizes from 2015 to $1.8 billion and $0.6 billion, respectively.
Thailand's e-commerce value is projected reach $11 billion in 2025, up 12 times from the level in 2015 of $900 million. The figure was $1.8 billion in 2017. The country is estimated to have 20 million online shoppers by 2025.
Thailand's online media is estimated to grow from $800 million to $1.5 billion in 2025, with online travel rising from $3.9 billion to $5.5 billion.
In 2020, there will be 59 million internet users in Thailand, compared to 38 million in 2015, he said.
In Southeast Asia, there were some 260 million internet users in 2015, forecast to reach 480 million in 2020.
The region has world's highest average for time spent on mobile internet, some 3.6 hours a day, while Thais spend 4.2 hours per day. Thais have been credited with the most time spent on mobile internet in the world.
As of the third quarter of 2017, there are 45 million internet users in Thailand, both fixed and wireless, of which 20 million are mobile postpaid users. Mr King said Thailand has readiness in payment and logistics technology, which should strengthen the e-commerce trend.
Moreover, the country has attracted investment funding, in particular venture capital in Southeast Asia. From 2015-17, the region received $13 billion in funding and is projected to reach $40-50 billion by 2025.
However, Thailand needs to recruit more digital marketers, software engineers, mobile app developers and data scientists.