2020 online trade set to hit B220bn
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2020 online trade set to hit B220bn

Covid-19 outbreak drives growth

Thailand's e-commerce, excluding business-to-business engagement, is expected to grow 35% to 220 billion baht in 2020, driven by the coronavirus outbreak, says Priceza, a price comparison shopping website.

Meanwhile, the competition between social commerce and e-marketplaces is expected to intensify.

"In the post-Covid-19 world, the online channel and e-commerce are no longer an alternative option, but rather a means of survival," Thanawat Malabuppha, chief executive of Priceza and president of Thailand e-Commerce Association, said in an online press conference.

The country's e-commerce through business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer is projected to jump to 220 billion baht in 2020, accounting for 4-5% of total retail.

In 2019, e-commerce retail sales were valued at 163 billion baht, making up 3% of total retail.

"I estimate Thailand's e-commerce could reach 25% of total retail, similar to China, in 5-10 years," said Mr Thanawat.

A recent Facebook feature allows retailers to upload product catalogues onto their Facebook page or Instagram, demonstrating how social media can compete with e-marketplaces, he said.

Line, another popular social network in Thailand, has also launched a MyShop feature, reflecting its commitment to compete in the market.

Both Facebook and Line are pivoting to creating end-to-end shopping experience for users.

In 2019, e-marketplace value accounted for 47% of e-commerce, followed by social media at 38% and brands' own websites 15%.

In 2019, Shopee was the e-marketplace leader in Thailand, accounting for 54% of market share, followed by Lazada at 46%.

Meanwhile, Facebook topped social commerce with a market share of 42%, trailed by Line at 34%, Instagram 19% and Twitter 5%.

Top products searched through Priceza in January to February, before the outbreak critically hit Thailand, compared with March to April showed health and beauty products as well as consumer goods both recorded 34% growth.

The biggest decline was seen in vehicles, dropping 44%, followed by clothes and fashion with a 41% fall.

According to Mr Thanawat, Priceza is assisting online shops in technology that should help increase their sales.

"In the face of Covid-19, many businesses still lack digital assets, including customer data and fan bases for their online channels," he said.

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