Competition among providers of New Year's hampers and gifts has intensified from last year, fuelled by aggressive campaigns and enticing offers from major supermarket chains and beauty brands, aiming to attract consumer spending during the festive season.
This year the hamper market is active as the retail sector has fully recovered from the impact of the pandemic, which dampened sentiment from 2020 to 2022.
A significant budget was allocated for the festive season with major retail operators eager to celebrate the opening of new stores and shops.
Notable openings include Central Westville on Nov 29, The Emsphere on Dec 1 and The Mall Lifestore Bangkapi on Dec 8.
Retailers are rolling out special offers in a final push to boost sales this year.
These offers include interest-free instalment payments over 10 months, lucky draws with a chance to win cars, discounts of up to 50%, giveaways, and cashback incentives for credit card payments.
The hamper campaign kicked off in early October and is expected to run until mid-January, with all supermarket chains sourcing products from around the world, particularly from Europe, to fill their hampers. Prices for these hampers can run up to 20,000 baht.
In addition to supermarkets, health and beauty chains, electrical appliance retailers and other product categories have joined the trend, offering specially packaged products suitable as gifts.
Supawut Chaiprasitkul, chief business officer of supermarket and food at The Mall Group, said the company launched the "Gourmet Market Blissful Hampers 2024" campaign in early October, 3-4 weeks earlier than last year.
In response to the economic climate and customer spending behaviour, the company introduced a range of price tiers for hamper baskets.
The lowest price for a hamper was 3,000 baht last year, but this year the bottom tier started at 2,500 baht, he said.
The Mall received support from the Italian embassy to import products from Italy and has expanded its selection with new items from the US, the UK, France, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.
The Mall also curated New Year's baskets for foreign tourists, featuring healthy and authentic Thai products, said Mr Supawut.
He emphasised the affordability of Italian hamper baskets this year, aiming to encourage customers to buy several.
"Prices of Italian hampers are very affordable this year because we want customers to repurchase them," said Mr Supawut.
"We received positive feedback on these hampers since early October and expect our total hamper sales this season to match the level in 2019."
He said he anticipates a 15% increase in hamper sales year-on-year, surpassing last year's tally of more than 200 million baht.
Pailin Umphuj, vice-president of merchandising at The Mall Group, said the company launched "Beauty Hall The Great Happy New Year 2023", running from now until Jan 8.
Based on increased market activity this year, more than 200 beauty brands reintroduced New Year gift sets and collections, priced from 1,500 to 19,990 baht, she said.
"We anticipate significant growth in our beauty gift sets, especially as this marks the first year of post-pandemic recovery," said Ms Pailin.
Aswin Techachareonvikul, chief executive of Big C Supercenter Plc, said the company launched "Big C Moments of Happiness", running from Nov 23 to Jan 3.
The company is offering a selection of 60 New Year's hampers, featuring 7,000 products including food and beverages for festive parties, with prices starting at 250 baht.
According to Big C Point data, 66% of customers purchasing hampers are women aged 35-50. These customers make their choices based on the aesthetic appeal, creativity and design of the basket, while also considering eco-friendliness.
Big C's hamper sales reached 1.7 billion baht in 2022 and the company expects a 45% increase to 2.46 billion for this year's festive season.
Meanwhile, Lotus's has curated more than 3,500 items, including consumer products, electrical appliances and home goods, available in various New Year's gift baskets during the festive season, featuring more than 400 exclusive items.
At Makro cash and carry stores, the company sourced products both locally and internationally, offering gift baskets with prices ranging from 790 to 5,990 baht.