Thailand's retail e-commerce market is expected to reach 4 trillion baht in 2025, up from 817 billion this year, while online sales through virtual space, known as meta-commerce, is tipped to be a future trend, says Kulthirath Pakawachkrilers, newly appointed president of the Thai e-Commerce Association (Theca).
Meta-commerce is expected to be a new shopping trend in years to come with global investment in the metaverse reaching US$120 billion in 2021, she said.
Theca on Thursday unveiled Ms Kulthirath, chief executive and co-founder of Thailand e-Business Centre, as its new president.
She succeeds Thanawat Malabuppha, who was made the adviser and honorary president of Theca.
Theca, which has operated for 17 years, also introduced another 17 association committee members.
"E-commerce will continue to grow and evolve over the next decade. With the rise of the metaverse, it will play a key role in commerce in what is called meta-commerce with virtual and immersive reality experiences," said Ms Kulthirath.
Global e-commerce will move ahead in various forms, including live commerce and video commerce, both of which are expected to hit $500 billion in 2023.
The meta-commerce market globally is expected to reach $678.8 billion in 2030 while the global metaverse economy is projected to hit $13 trillion in 2030.
According to Ms Kulthirath, global e-commerce is forecast to reach $7.3 trillion in 2025, up from $5.5 trillion in 2022.
In Thailand, online retail market involving business to consumer (B2C) and consumer to consumer (C2C) is expected to hit 4 trillion baht in 2025, with a compound average growth rate of 75% from 2022 to 2025.
Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, first and former president of Theca, said the country's e-commerce is driven by the telecom infrastructure.
The high internet speeds and the pandemic are propelling e-commerce adoption by both sellers and buyers, said Mr Pawoot, who now serves as honorary president of Theca.
Live commerce and video commerce are creating engagement with buyers, he said, adding in the future live commerce can be combined with on-demand delivery into on-demand commerce, where the products are to be shifted to customers immediately after the order.
"The association will continue to work with the government to strengthen local sellers and ensure fair market competition," said Mr Pawoot.
He said one of Theca's outstanding achievements is to push for the enactment of an e-service tax law as Thais pay 200 billion baht a year for digital services provided by foreign platforms.
According to Ms Kulthirath, Theca's new committee members will focus on assisting local sellers and playing a part in driving GDP growth through digital power with eight strategies.
The first strategy, Mr Thanawat said, pertains to "Thai e-commerce big data connexion", where the association aims to work with the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) to create a startup that can provide the government with user behaviour insights. At present, this insight information is owned by foreign e-marketplaces.
Ms Kulthirath added other strategies include supporting fair competition; driving cross-border e-commerce; enhancing inclusiveness in e-commerce; empowering local sellers; supporting e-commerce software technology and e-payment; providing digital marketing and solutions for SMEs; and increasing the e-commerce workforce.
She said Thai entrepreneurs need six elements to level up their e-commerce business, including insightful data, gamification, new products and services, innovation, technology and entertainment enablers.