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Rise of mobile phone shopping in Thailand

Home-based businesses are increasingly focusing on online sales with shoppers using mobile phones.

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People sell things directly to other people in Customer to customer (C2C) online markets. A young woman's clothes she no longer likes, for example.


Rise of mobile phone shopping in Thailand

Suchit Leesa-nguansuk

Home-based businesses are increasingly focusing on online sales with shoppers using mobile phones.

Shopping on mobile phones is fast becoming the next big battleground in Thailand's e-commerce market.

Customer to customer (C2C) markets allow customers to sell things to other customers, for example a woman's second-hand clothes that are still in good condition. Everyone effectively becomes a store (see here). 

Traditional retail markets are business to customer (B2C) markets in which an online store sells things to customers or business to business (B2B) markets which take care of the needs of other businesses.


The so-called "millennial" demographic is particularly comfortable using their mobile phone to shop.

Some 50% of all online purchases are done via mobile devices in Thailand.

As of December 2015, Thailand had 39 million mobile internet users. In 2015 Mobile penetration was 86.9% of the population with smartphone penetration at 50%. The number of Facebook users is 37 million, Line 33 million and Instagram 2 million.

As of 2015, there were 500,000 online merchants in Thailand, with 10,515 using online stores on Facebook and another 11,213 on Instagram.

More than 80% of digital consumers reportedly use social media to search for products or connect with sellers. Using social media to sell things is called social commerce (see Wikipedia here & academic paper here).

A reported 33% of Thailand's e-commerce sales value comes from Facebook and Instagram.

One study found 71% of smartphone users in Thailand shop online an average of twice a month, while 90% intend to shop online in the future.


Mobile C2C commerce in Southeast Asia still does not have dominant players like eBay in the US or Taobao in China (read academic paper about Taobao here).

Japan's e-commerce giant Rakuten is tapping into C2C mobile commerce to capitalise on rising smartphone use and C2C mobile commerce.

Singapore-based Garena has created Shopee, a C2C marketplace, in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Singapore.

Line is involved with C2C commerce. Weloveshopping.com and iTruemart.com are other players.

ShopSpot Mobility is a Thai mobile shopping platform developer. The company has a C2C commerce platform that allows everyone to be a seller and set up e-commerce stores, selling goods or services to other customers. ShopSpot has 20,000 online merchants on its platform with 400,000 active users and 1.5 million visitors a month last year.

The company aims to raise between US$3-5 million in 2016 to expand its footprint in Asean. InVent, the venture capital arm of InTouch Holdings, together with SingTel Innov8, a wholly owned subsidiary of SingTel Group, have invested in the company.


Kaidee.com is Thailand's leading online classified ad market for second-hand goods.

Kaidee.com expects mobile traffic on its online store to account for 80% of total web traffic this year.

Amulets, property, gadgets and vehicles are among its best-selling products.

Last year Kaidee.com saw an increase of 1 million new sellers with 7 million visitors a month.


Thailand was the second-largest online retail market in Asean last year after Indonesia thanks to social media, according to Bain & Company which produced the "Southeast Asia Digital Report 2016" (read Bain report here).

Thailand's online retail market is expected to reach $10-15 billion by 2020, up from less than $2 billion in 2015. Thailand's online retail sales are expected to account for 8% of the total retail market by 2020, up from 1.3-1.4% of 2 trillion baht last year.

In comparison, online sales in China accounted for 6-8% of the total retail market in 2014, 8% in the US and 13% in Britain.



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academic : relating to education - เชิงวิชาการ

account for : to be a particular amount or part of something -

aim : to have as your purpose or goal - มีเป้าหมาย มีจุดมุ่งหมาย

allow : to let somebody/something do something; to let something happen or be done - อนุญาต, ยอมรับ

amulet : a small object that some people wear around their neck as a protection against evil, bad luck, disease etc - เครื่องราง

arm : a part of an organisation that deals with a particular subject or activity - หน่วยงาน

average : an amount calculated by adding several amounts together, finding a total, and dividing the total by the number of amounts - เฉลี่ย, ค่าเฉลี่ย

based : where the main work of an organisation, business, etc. is done or controlled - ซึ่งเป็นศูนย์กลาง

battleground : a place where a battle (a major fight, especially in war, but in this case against a flood) is being fought or has been fought - สนามรบ, แนวรบ

best-selling : of a product, usually a book, which is bought by large numbers of people - เกี่ยวกับหนังสือหรือสิ่งที่ขายดี

capitalise on : to use an event or a situation to help you to achieve something or to get an advantage - ใช้ประโยชน์ให้เต็มที่จาก

comfortable : an easy life without difficulties - ความสะดวกสบาย

commerce : trade, especially between countries; the buying and selling of goods and services - การค้าขายสินค้า, ธุรกิจการค้า (commerce minister รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงพาณิชย์)

condition : something that must be done before another thing can happen - เงื่อนไข

connect : to join together two or more things - เชื่อมต่อ

consumer : someone who buys and uses goods and services - ผู้บริโภค

demographic : data relating to the population and different groups within it - สถิติประชากร

developer (noun): software developer, a person who writes computer programs and apps as their job -

device (noun): a machine or piece of equipment that does a particular job - อุปกรณ์ เครื่องมือ เครื่องจักร

dominant : more powerful or important than all others - เหนือกว่า

effectively : in reality - ตามความเป็นจริง

expand : to make or become larger - ขยาย เพิ่ม

focus : to give attention, effort, etc. to one particular subject, situation or person rather than another - เพ่งความสนใจ

footprint : the amount of business that a company does in a place; the presence of a company in a country -

gadget : a small tool or piece of equipment that does something useful or impressive - อุปกรณ์ขนาดเล็ก, กลไกขนาดเล็ก

holdings : the stock shares and part ownership in a company that someone owns or "holds" -

intend : to plan to do; to want to happen - ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น, วางแผนไว้

involved (verb): taking part or having a role in something - เกี่ยวข้อง, มีบทบาท

merchant : a person or business that buys and sells goods, especially one that trades with other countries - พ่อค้า, ผู้จำหน่าย, คนขาย

mobile (technology) : of devices, especially telecommunication devices, that can easily be moved around, e.g., mobile phones, tablets, notebook computers - อุปกรณ์ซึ่งเคลื่อนที่ได้ง่าย

online : controlled by or connected to a computer or to the Internet - ออนไลน์, การเชื่อมต่อผ่านระบบเครือข่ายทางคอมพิวเตอร์

particularly : especially, or more than usual - โดยเฉพาะ

penetration : the level at which a product, service, etc. has succeeded in entering a market - ส่วนแบ่ง

platform : a technology -

population : a particular group of people or animals living in a particular area - กลุ่มที่อาศัยอยู่ในที่เดียวกัน

property : a building or buildings and the surrounding land - อสังหาริมทรัพย์

reportedly : as reported (often used for showing that you are not certain that something you are reporting is true) - ตามที่รายงาน

retail : to sell directly to the public for their own use - ขายปลีก

second-hand (adjective): not new; owned by somebody else before - ใช้แล้ว, มือสอง

social (adjective): related to society, to people and the way they are connected to each other and interact with each other - เกี่ยวกับสังคม

social media : the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. - เครือข่ายสังคมออนไลน์

study : a project that looks at some subject in great detail and produces a report to share the information - งานวิจัย

subsidiary : (of a business company) owned or controlled by another company - บริษัทในเครือ

take care of : to take action to solve a problem - รับมือกับ, จัดการกับ

tap : to get or make use of something - ใช้เป็นประโยชน์

thanks to : because of - ด้วยเหตุ, เพราะ

traditional : things (buildings, clothes, music, customs, etc.) that have been part of a country or society for a long time - แบบดั้งเดิม, เป็นประเพณี

traffic (noun): the movement of messages and signals through an electronic communication system - ปริมาณการใช้ [วงจรสื่อสาร]

value : how much something is worth in money or other goods for which it can be exchanged - มูลค่า

vehicle : a machine that you travel in or on, especially one with an engine that travels on roads, e.g., a car, bus, van, truck, etc. - ยานพาหนะ

venture capital : a system for funding new businesses, usually technology, innovative and a little risky - เงินร่วมลงทุน, เงินลงทุนที่ใช้สำหรับจัดตั้งธุรกิจเริ่มแรกและธุรกิจขนาดเล็กที่มีการเติบโตที่ดี แต่ไม่สามารถระดมทุนผ่านทางตลาดหลักทรัพย์ โดยผู้ให้เงินร่วมลงทุนจะมีการช่วยเหลือด้านการบริหารงานแก่ธุรกิจที่เข้าไปลงทุน


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