Seeing stars in 2024
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Seeing stars in 2024

With the Thai economy recovering, analysts identified six sectors likely to make a splash this year

E-commerce ranks as a top 10 sunrise business in 2024, according to the UTCC.
E-commerce ranks as a top 10 sunrise business in 2024, according to the UTCC.

Many economists project Thailand to be on a recovery course thanks to resilient domestic demand and an uptick in tourist arrivals.

With most industries reviving as many new tech-driven ones pick up steam, such as electric vehicles (EVs), there is optimism the nation's economic growth will accelerate more strongly in 2024.

Analysts singled out six industries for rapid growth this year, in line with Thailand's improving performance in trade, technology readiness and social well-being.

Lazada's semi-automatic fulfilment warehouse in Samut Prakan. The company posted accumulated losses of 15.9 billion baht over past 11 years.


The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) ranks e-commerce as a top 10 sunrise business for 2024.

Thailand's online retail sector is expected to tally nearly 700 billion baht in 2024 from an estimate of 634 billion in 2023, according to the Thailand E-commerce Association.

In 2023, there were 41.5 million online shoppers in Thailand with average spending of 8,840 baht, up from 30.2 million users in 2019 with average spending of 2,970 baht.

E-marketplace players such as Lazada and Shopee are expected to shift their strategy from subsidies and discount campaigns to profitability and sustainability after posting huge losses over the past decade, said the association.

Social commerce site TikTok Shop entered the market by positioning itself as "shoppertainment", utilising heavy marketing campaigns. These promotions created growth momentum via live commerce and short video clips.

Recently TikTok launched TV advertising, signalling an attempt to raise its brand awareness, while e-marketplaces such as Lazada focus more on activities to lure users to spend more time on its platform through a gamification strategy.

Shopee responded to the rise of TikTok Shop by offering more discount codes and activities in Shopee Live, as well as short video clip platforms.

In December 2023, Lazada received another capital infusion of US$634 million from its parent company Alibaba, indicating it has greater cash flow to support operations and fend off competition.

Crypto trading is picked to pop this year. REUTERS


This year could be favourable for cryptocurrencies after prices surged substantially in 2023, with market conditions supporting a further uptick, while the domestic market should see competition intensify as new players enter.

Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, posted a healthy recovery, providing the highest return among all investment asset classes in 2023.

Last year the Bitcoin price hit an annual high of $44,700 on Dec 8, surging 147% as of Dec 11, according to CoinMarketCap.

Some market analysts predict the price to rise as high as $160,000 in a bull market this year, supported by progress on the US Nasdaq exchange accepting BlackRock's spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Another factor that could propel the price higher is the Bitcoin halving scheduled to happen in April 2024.

Occurring every four years, Bitcoin halving is when Bitcoin production is cut by half, resulting in a decrease of new coins entering the market.

Past data shows after every halving, the price rises. That data prompted investors to start collecting Bitcoin from mid-2023. If Nasdaq approves the spot Bitcoin ETF for trading, prices should increase further, said analysts.

As of Dec 11, the global market capitalisation of cryptocurrencies was $1.49 trillion, with Bitcoin trading accounting for 55.1% of the total market value.

In Thailand, cryptocurrency trading has been stagnant, with active investors trading monthly falling sharply from a year ago to 100,000-130,000. The total trading value in November was roughly 35 billion baht.

This year new, large players are entering the cryptocurrency trading platform segment, spicing up market competition. One new entrant is Gulf Binance, a joint venture of SET-listed Gulf Energy Development and Binance, the operator of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange.

Another new competitor involves Kasikornbank's purchase of Satang Pro, a cryptocurrency exchange platform, which changed its name to Orbix Trade.

Thai bank SCB X is offering InnovestX as its crypto trading platform.

Bitkub Online is the largest crypto market exchange in Thailand.

While the market has potential to grow, the regulator has a role to play in restoring public confidence in the digital asset business.

Cryptocurrency exchange Zipmex announced on Nov 25 it was taking immediate action by suspending all digital asset trading in Thailand until Jan 31, 2024, as part of its efforts to comply with regulatory requirements from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In September last year, Zipmex was accused of operating outside the digital asset business guidelines without permission from the SEC, based on efforts to persuade its customers to use Singapore-based Zipmex Pte.

The SEC and the Anti Money-Laundering Office said last month Zipmex and its former chief executive were defrauding the public. The case is being prepared for filing with the Department of Special Investigation for further inspection.


Well-being and sustainable lifestyles are a trend for 2024 as homebuyers seek spaces for relaxation and remote work at home, emphasising energy conservation, green initiatives and carbon-free construction.

Sumitra Wongpakdee, managing director of property research and consultancy Terra Media and Consulting, said relaxation was the most important activity for homebuyers, followed by working, watching TV series or movies, cooking and exercising.

"Developers should redesign or re-allocate space for more than its primary function," she said.

Buyers of high-priced homes, defined as 15 million baht or greater, want everything within the unit, said Ms Sumitra. They do not desire a large-scale project with many facilities in common areas, as they prioritise privacy, she said.

However, common area facilities are essential for buyers of mid-priced homes, priced between 7-15 million baht, as they prioritise socialising, said Ms Sumitra.

For low-price homebuyers, security, comfort at home and energy-saving features are their priorities, she said.

Terra Media conducted an online survey among 2,000 prospective homebuyers from Oct 1 to Nov 8, 2023, finding their ideal preferences were: comfortable and convenient living; safe and secure environment; and well-being.

For most people, that means living in a residential project that has a serene environment and is equipped with comprehensive amenities, or in a house incorporating smart home technology and convenient features to enhance both physical and mental well-being.

"Lifestyle choices vary across generations. Young adults are more interested in travel and prefer using mass transit lines," said Ms Sumitra.

"Generation Y, aged 28-41, are more energy-conscious, often turning off lights when not in use."

Public hospitals have also recently teamed up with state agencies and local startups to build AI-based medical products and services to pave the way for the export of medical solutions to the Asia-Pacific region.


Government efforts on renewable energy should continue to make significant progress in 2024, though the growth level will depend on state support.

The utility green tariff is expected to be implemented in January and should be welcomed by foreign investors, according to a source at the Energy Ministry who requested anonymity.

This type of levy determines the price of power bills for factory owners that need to use clean energy to achieve carbon neutrality, a balance between carbon dioxide emissions and absorption, as part of worldwide efforts to reduce global warming.

The new tariff is required to go through a public hearing before it is published in the Royal Gazette.

The rate will include discounts based on the types of renewable energy and power consumption, the source said.

The green tariff forms part of the second phase of the state renewable energy scheme, with planned electricity generation capacity of 3.6 gigawatts.

The scheme was delayed because of the lengthy process of forming a new coalition government following the general election in May 2023.

Thailand has abundant renewable resources to attract foreign businesses, but the Federation of Thai Industries said earlier it was worried renewable energy prices may be so high they deter investors.

An official at the Industry Ministry who requested anonymity said the Srettha Thavisin government has focused a lot on measures to reduce energy prices, including diesel, gasohol and electricity bills, but did little to promote projects that combat global warming, including the second phase of the renewable energy scheme.

In 2021, premier Prayut Chan-o-cha vowed at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow that Thailand would be more aggressive in addressing climate change, striving to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, along with a net-zero target, a balance between greenhouse gas emissions and absorption, by 2065.

The rapid growth of the electric vehicle market is fuelling related businesses both central to and outside of the energy industry.


The rapid growth of the EV market is fuelling related businesses both central to and outside of the energy industry.

PTT Oil and Retail Business Plc (OR) plans to change the image of its PTT filling stations, which serve oil-powered cars, to non-petrol stations providing a battery charging service for EV drivers.

The company said it is conducting a feasibility study on the new business to prepare for construction.

"This will be our first time building a non-oil station after roughly 45 years in the oil retail business," said Disathat Panyarachun, president and chief executive of OR.

The battery charging stations are scheduled to open in the second half of 2024.

Customers at the new stations can visit food and beverage shops, a convenience store, car maintenance and laundry service facilities.

OR plans to drive higher investment in the battery charging business through its EV Station PluZ plan.

The company expects to have 600 charging outlets nationwide in 2024, up from 400 outlets as of July last year, rising to 7,000 by 2030.

SET-listed Energy Absolute, a renewable energy and EV developer and operator, also expects to benefit from the growing EV industry.

The company announced it will increase EV battery production capacity at its factory in Chachoengsao to 4 gigawatt hours, up from 1GWh, by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Other sectors such as smart electronics and information technology (IT) are expected to grow rapidly in 2024 as global EV manufacturers start production in Thailand, according to the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE).

EV manufacturing should increase demand for electronics and IT products, which are crucial for EV assembly, said OIE director-general Warawan Chitaroon.


The sporting goods industry continues to thrive, defying projections for weak domestic spending.

While the general outlook for the retail market remains pessimistic among major operators, the sporting goods sector exhibits strong potential for sustained growth in 2024.

This resilience is attributed to individuals striking a balance between work and play, as Thai consumers focus more on health.

Demand for sporting goods should persist this year as fitness operators open branches in new malls, said analysts.

Several retail players have restructured or expanded designated spaces for sports product categories.

The expansion efforts of new sporting goods distributors are expected to play a pivotal role in driving growth this year.

Beyond traditional sportswear brands, fast fashion and fashion lifestyle products collaborating with sporting lines also underscores this trend.

The estimated value of Thailand's sporting goods market is 30 billion baht, with promising growth prospects in 2024.

Desire for sports fashion goods and lifestyle fashion products is expected to grow, according to analysts.

Numerous international lifestyle fashion brands, alongside local counterparts, are planning to establish their presence in department stores and shopping complexes currently undergoing renovations.

Renowned brands are seeking to enter the Thai market, with a focus on Central Chidlom, which is progressing with an upgrade, as well as The Emquartier, slated for renovation in the coming year.

(Additional reporting by Yuthana Praiwan, Lamonphet Apisitniran and Pitsinee Jitpleecheep)

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