Pandemic has major impact on shopping
Household spending decreases 80%
The pandemic has changed the way Thais shop.
Ipsos market research polled 3,000 people in six Southeast Asian nations and found Thais ranked second, with household spending decreasing 80%, following Indonesia which had the largest drop at 82%.
While people from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam are confident about the improving economy, Thais don't believe their income will recover or their economy will get stronger in the next six months.
"The pandemic has created the most critical impact on wealth and mental health of Thais as 79% of them will be more cautious about spending," said Aitsanart Wuthithanakul, Ipsos's business activation director for Social Intelligence Analytics.
Moreover, these people tend to avoid buying new goods, new brands and more expensive items.
This third market survey, conducted in February, also indicated that Thai people are more concerned about the pandemic situation, so they have gradually started to stock some necessary goods. They also spend more time with their family and buy more products via e-commerce channels using cashless payment.
However, once restrictions on movement are removed, 67% of Southeast Asians are unlikely to make a major purchase anytime soon.
Mr Aitsanart said many such restrictions forced changes in the habits of people in this region.
Lockdown policies encouraged 64% of them to spend more time with their family, while 54% spent more time on social networks.
Some agreed they used more time with streaming content (42%), exploring new hobbies (33%) and reading books (30%). Most spent much less time with non-family members (54%).
"Up to 83% of people in the region have shopped online in the past year, up 57 percentage points from the previous year," he said.
Aitsanart: Thais are more concerned
The growth of cashless payment was also impressive as 86% of them have used this option to avoid risking virus exposure.
The pandemic has accelerated those changes in day-to-day activities. Even though the pandemic will end in the future, shopping on the e-commerce platform will remain.
Mr Aitsanart said a contraction in household income will bring more opportunities for small-sized goods and smaller retail shops because people are not capable of buying big packages of goods and prefer to avoid crowded stores.
Meanwhile, businesses that still have huge opportunity are logistics, medical and online vendors.
"Thai people think the government should focus on providing cash assistance to households and keeping everyone safe from Covid-19. These are more important than controlling good prices,"
In terms of vaccinations, if vaccines for Covid-19 were available, 79% of Southeast Asians are ready to be inoculated.