E-commerce expected to record double-digit growth
Despite the sluggish economy that could lead to cautious spending in the second half, Thailand's e-commerce industry is still expected to see double-digit growth this year, driven by the new normal shopping trend, says e-commerce platform Lazada.
"In the past three months, we have seen cautious spending from customers of LazMall [a virtual mall feature of Lazada] though this customer group is usually less affected by the pandemic," said Thanida Suiwatana, chief business officer of Lazada Thailand.
Shoppers on LazMall spent more time selecting products and browsing more lower priced products, compared with the first half, she said.
Thanida Suiwatana, chief business officer of Lazada Thailand
"We think cautious spending will continue," said Ms Thanida.
However, online shopping has become the new normal habit that is here to stay after the lockdown. The number of first-time online shoppers has increased during the pandemic, she said.
According to Ms Thanida, Thailand's e-commerce was worth 300 billion baht last year with a growth of 83% year-on-year.
"We expect to see continuing double-digit growth at a level higher than last year as the lockdown led to offline shopping restrictions," she said.
Online retail in Thailand accounts for only 8% of total retail value now but is projected to reach a double-digit percentage next year, as opposed to more than 25% in the US and China now.
"We still have room to grow thanks to a mobile phone penetration rate of more than 91%," she said.
The number of brands in LazMall has grown 350% from 2020 to surpass 9,000 this year. Sales surged 63% on average while the number of orders has risen by 67% and that of buyers surged 47%.
The online channel has become a must for brands and is "not an alternative", Ms Thanida said.
The best-selling items on LazMall in the first half were lingerie, disinfectant multipurpose cleaning products and multipurpose blenders.
Referring to Lazada's 9.9 sales campaign, she said up to 90% discounts for selected items and a 50-baht bonus for every purchase valued at 500 baht would be offered.
Korean superstar Hyun Bin will become LazMall's first regional brand ambassador.
"We hope this megasale will increase sales by 20 times compared with normal periods and 1.3 times more than the 6.6 megasale," Ms Thanida said.
During the shopping megasale events, IT gadgets and mobile phones are popular items but this time pandemic-related products are also expected to be highly sought-after.
Lazada has also embarked on a campaign called "the LazadaCARES", in which shoppers can redeem LazCoins for a total of 99,999 care boxes with donated items from brands. These boxes will be sent to nine charitable organisations and foundations that help people in need during the pandemic.