World Cup kicks off retail frenzy

World Cup kicks off retail frenzy

From big-screen sellers to the media players looking to leverage them to market their clients' wares, the football event is expected to provide a boon to enterprises after a lull in consumption.

The upcoming World Cup 2018 is kicking up feverish sentiment in Thailand's retail and commercial sectors.

Sales of big-screen TVs are predicted to rise during the tournament. PATIPAT JANTHONG

The football extravaganza has companies excited after a fairly dull purchasing period. Restaurants, hypermarkets, electrical goods outlets, convenience stores, drink sellers, hotel operators and media companies are gearing up to capture higher sales.

According to a study conducted by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the World Cup will draw an estimated 70 billion baht worth of spending from June 14 to July 15.

LARGE FORMAT GAINS FOR TV MAKERS

Siwaporn Sammutthee, vice-president of Big C Supercenter Plc's hard line division, said the company increased its display space for large-screen TVs sized 75 inches and 85 inches at selected Big C stores.

"We've seen a continued 5% increase in TV sales on a monthly basis since earlier this year, bucking the overall tepid sales for the electrical appliances industry, which are yet to fully recover," she said.

In April alone, sales of big screen TVs at Big C stores grew at a double-digit rate. The store's TV sales are estimated to grow more than 20% during this year's World Cup.

The campaign will offer special prices and discounts, a 0% instalment plan, extended warranty and lucky draw prizes.

Big C is also readying several activities for customers to capitalise on the festive spirit.

Chanchai Bhanphufalck, general manager of Hisense International Thailand Co, said the company will allocate 40% of its marketing budget to promote its products during the tournament.

"We entered Thailand two years ago, and we will use sports marketing as a major strategy to build our brand among Thais. The World Cup will help us access our target customers -- those looking for high definition, large screen TVs," said Mr Chanchai.

The company expects to increase its share of the 25 billion baht Thai television market from 0.5% to 2%.

Tetsutaka Suda, general manager of Sony Thai Co's marketing division, said the company will being a nationwide sales campaign, "Sony Big Match Days", from May 14 to July 15.

"The World Cup can help stimulate demand for large screen and 4K TVs, since viewers can enjoy watching football matches in a more immersive way," he said.

Sony expects the World Cup to boost sales by 20%.

CP All Plc, the operator of 7-eleven, is offering a chance to travel and watch a match in Russia, for every 40 baht purchase at its stores.

The Mall Group, the operator of Power Mall, will also release World Cup promotions in the coming weeks.

RESTAURANTS PREPARE ONLINE CHANNELS

Paisarn Aowsathaporn, executive vice-president for food at Oishi Group Plc, said customers will be able to order food from its website in the time leading up to the matches. The company expects its sales to increase by 15% during the tournament, in part due to its special World Cup menu, which is projected to increase sales per customer.

Waewkanee Assoratgoon, general manager of KFC, which is managed by Yum Restaurants International Thailand Co, is also planning to focus on delivery promotions. The company will provide extended delivery service hours for branches that are open 24 hours, which should cover 70% of Bangkok and Pattaya.

Nath Vongpanich, president of Central Restaurants Group, said the group's marketing strategy will focus on quick service restaurant brands like Mister Donut and Auntie Anne's.

"This World Cup will be more exciting and hopefully help spur our food sales by 10-20%," said Mr Nath.

The company will team up with Foodpanda and Lineman for food delivery.

"With better economic sentiment, this World Cup will be more exciting and hopefully help spur our food sales by 10-20%," he said.

McDonald's sales targeted to treble

Phornphan Madhurapojanakul, marketing director of McThai Co, the operator of McDonald's, said the company will focus its marketing efforts on the online platform, which secures quick sales and can track consumer habits.

The company expects its sales to increase by a factor of three during the World Cup.

"We increased our sales by 30% during the 2014 World Cup. The company is preparing to grow on a greater scale this time around through special menus," he said.

The company will have three times as many McDelivery riders working during the tournament than during its normal operations.

"We are focusing heavily on our McDelivery channel," said Mr Phornphan.

Sukanya Janchoo, former vice-president of the Thai Hotels Association, said restaurants who offer live broadcasts on large screens will see large increases in traffic.

"Many restaurants will be able to increase sales of food and drinks by up to 50% during the games," she said, adding that such hikes might not be present during matches with teams that don't have large fan bases in Thailand.

Hotels can also capitalise on the event by setting specially designed spaces to watch the matches.

"The World Cup should boost food and drink revenue at hotels by 20-25%," said Ms Sukanya.

The company plans to launch "FIFA World Cup campaign: Bring the great foods to the good games", running from June to July 15.

The campaign will include four burgers meant to represent famous teams; the Lemon Tartar Fish Burger (England), the Hot BBQ Beef Burger (Germany), the Spicy Korean Chicken Burger (South Korea) and the Shogun Pork Burger (Japan). The will also introduce a 99 baht FIFA World Cup value set and a lucky draw.

Food delivery platforms gear up

Chanon Klahan, managing director of Lalamove Thailand, said the food delivery industry will be bustling prior to and during the live telecast of the games, which will air from 9pm-3am.

"Over the last three years, Thai people have gradually embraced food delivery service, as evidenced by the growing number of delivery service providers like Lalamove and Lineman."

Mr Chanon said the food delivery business will grow by 60-70% during the World Cup.

For World Cup 2018, Line, the operator of Line Man, expects an increase in deliveries, especially from restaurants that stay open until late, or provide fast food for football fans. Line Man will announce World Cup special promotions soon, said a company spokesperson.

Media expenditures to rise

Media experts believe the advertising industry will see healthy growth during the 2018 World Cup on the back of ads placed across TV, digital and out-of-home media platforms.

Rajsak Asawasupachai, IPG Mediabrands Digital business director, said he is optimistic that the ad flow will be "bustling" starting from June 14. The event will be a key factor boosting advertising expenditure as nine potential broadcast partners offer their own fast moving consumer goods.

Mr Rajsak said the nine broadcast partners must find ways to squeeze a higher return on investment by selling ad airtime slots, while undertaking seasonal campaigns after they invested more than 1.4 billion baht on a massive deal.

He said TV will receive the biggest chunk of ads, but advertisers are also looking to online channels, out-of-home digital billboards and mass transit.

There are nine broadcast partners: King Power Group, CP Group, Thai Beverage, Kasikornbank, BTS, Gulf Energy Development, PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC), Bangchak Corp, and Carabao Dang.

King Power invested 200 million baht, CP (200 million), Thai Beverage (200 million), Kasikornbank (200 million), BTS (200 million), Gulf (200 million), PTTGC (100 million), and Bangchak Corporation (50 million) and Carabao Dang (50 million).

Mr Rajsak said he was unsure about how ad expenditures would shape up during the event, but believes they are likely to be massive, as the World Cup is normally able to woo advertisers to buy airtime slots during every match.

"There is no clear estimate for ad expenditures, but I believe they will be overwhelming. The World Cup itself can elevate the whole media industry outlook for this year," said Mr Rajsak.

On the other hand, Triluj Navamarat, chairman of the Media Agency Association of Thailand, said ad expenditure will probably not be as good as it was during the last World Cup.

But Media Intelligence media director Pawat Ruangdejworachai forecasts ad spending will increase 6% year-on-year to 91 billion baht, on the back of seasonal events like the 2018 World Cup, the growth of online and out-of-home media outlets and the positive outlook for Thailand's economy.

Restaurant staff in Lat Krabang district paint their faces with national flags of their favourite teams. SUKHUM PREECHAPANICH



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