Rise of mobile phone shopping in Thailand

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.



About the author

Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer