Thai market holds promise for eBay
'Recommerce' is a growing trend
Global e-commerce giant eBay says it sees increasing potential for various export products from Thailand, particularly jewellery, diamonds, gemstones and collectable cards, while the company is stepping up efforts to onboard suppliers of these items.
The company also notes a rising trend in "recommerce", which involves the selling of previously owned or used products.
"Our focus for eBay in Southeast Asia, especially Thailand, is to drive the region to become the best export marketplace," Vidmay Naini, newly appointed country manager of eBay for Southeast Asia and India, told the Bangkok Post. "This is a significant opportunity for Thai SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] to start exports for high-demand products."
Thailand serves as a major export market for eBay in Asean, which can potentially supply products to the world, he said.
The pandemic has spurred digital adoption in the region, with almost 400 million people going online.
Mr Naini said e-commerce is expected to remain robust in the post-pandemic era, while eBay plans to make a large investment to attract more sellers onto the platform, create awareness for global sales opportunities, and foster partnerships and the ecosystem.
Small businesses can flourish if some enablement aspects are fixed in Thailand, such as low-cost shipping options for sellers, he said.
The company aims to attract more sellers of jewellery, gemstones and diamonds from Bangkok, Chanthaburi and Chiang Mai, Mr Naini said. Collectibles is another potential export market, he said.
In 2021, Thailand's top five export markets on eBay were the US, Australia, the UK, France and Germany, while the top five export markets for the region were the US, Australia, the UK, Germany and Canada.
Mr Naini said strong growth of export products on eBay from Asean, particularly Thailand, included jewellery, watches, auto parts, collectable trading cards, and furniture.
When the pandemic was intensifying, health and supplement products, furniture, and home and garden items gained steam, he said. As the pandemic eases, demand for do-it-yourself products has been growing.
In 2021, sales of watches with an average sales price in excess of US$2,000 per piece increased by 62% year-on-year in Asean.
The site's trading or collectable cards category is growing faster than the overall marketplace, said Mr Naini. Collectable card enthusiasts throughout Asean have been profiting from this trend as buyers turn their hobbies into an alternative investment vehicle.
"Our trading cards business has been growing for the past six years. Collectable cards exported by Southeast Asian sellers via eBay has been growing in double-digit figures," he said.
From 2019 to 2021, there was a 39% compound annual growth rate for motorcycle parts exported from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to international destinations, including the US and Australia.
"We are also seeing the rising popularity of furniture exported from Malaysia to the US, while gemstones and jewellery exported from Thailand and Indonesia are popular in the US and Europe," said Mr Naini.
"Gemstones and jewellery are always sought after on eBay as there are frequent buyers in foreign countries who are retailers, as well as consumers."
The company is committed to continuing its eBay NextGen programme, aimed at providing a range of benefits for SMEs to grow their business online, including subsidies worth up to $1,500 per seller.
In the fourth quarter of last year, eBay had 17 million active sellers and 147 million active buyers from 190 countries. The platform saw gross merchandise sales of $20.7 billion and 1.5 billion live listings.
In October last year, eBay's managed payment system extended its service to Asean. The system delivered $2 billion in revenue to the company in 2021.
Rinlita Srirojpinyo, eBay's Thailand head of marketing, said a recent study by the company indicated that recommerce enjoyed strong growth with eBay's customer-to-customer users in 2021, delivering $2.7 billion of gross merchandise value in used electronics and apparel in the US, UK and Canada.
She said so far this year, recommerce had grown faster than the sale and purchase of new products on the eBay marketplace, which was driven by Gen Z.
The research found the main reason people sell on eBay is to make extra cash or supplement their income, while 20% cited the circular economy as the top reason for purchasing second-hand items.