Time spent on internet surges in 2020
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Time spent on internet surges in 2020

People are glued to their phones while waiting for the skytrain at Victory Monument station in Bangkok. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
People are glued to their phones while waiting for the skytrain at Victory Monument station in Bangkok. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Thais spent almost half the day on the internet on average in 2020, partly driven by the pandemic, while Facebook, YouTube and Line remained the most popular social media platforms in Thailand, according to a survey by the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA).

"Thai users increased their time spent online to 11 hours and 25 minutes in 2020, an increase of one hours and three minutes from 2019. Generation Y and Z were the main users as they engaged in online study," said Chaichana Mitrpant, executive director of ETDA, citing the "Thailand Internet User Behavior 2020" report.

The report surveyed more than 20,000 respondents in Thailand from April to June last year.

In 2013, when ETDA began the survey, Thais spent an average of only four hours and 36 minutes a day on the internet, which means the amount of time had tripled by 2020, he said.

Some 78.3% of respondents cited easier internet access and broader internet coverage for making it convenient for them to connect online.

"Covid-19 is another factor causing people to engage in more online activities to avoid going out," said Mr Chaichana.

Looking deeper, daily time spent on the internet on weekdays was 11 hours and 23 minutes on average, a jump of one hour and 31 minutes from a year earlier, while on weekends the time spent was 11 hours and 29 minutes, a drop of six minutes from a year before.

Gen Y (aged 20-39) was the biggest user of the internet, spending an average of 12 hours and 26 minutes per day, followed by Gen Z (younger than 20) with 12 hours and eight minutes, Gen X (40-55) with 10 hours and 20 minutes, and Baby Boomers (56-74) with eight hours and 41 minutes.

"Covid-19 caused the closure of education facilities and led to online study," he said.

"Most workplaces also adopted a work-from-home policy."

Social media had the most popular online engagement by Thais, with 95.3% of the respondents, followed by watching TV, clips, movies and online music at 85%, then information searches at 82.2%.

Some 77.8% said they engage in online chat, while 67.3% shop online.

Mr Chaichana said Facebook, YouTube and Line were still the main social media channels for Thais, according to 98.2%, 97.5% and 96% of the respondents, respectively.

Short-form video-sharing platform TikTok saw strong growth with 35.8% of respondents engaged with it.

He said respondents believed only 50% of the news and information shared online is true or credible.

Some 97% said they came across fake news on the internet.

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