Lagging e-commerce spending inches up
E-commerce spending in Thailand has inched higher, but is still lower than the global average.
Thailand’s average e-commerce spending per user for consumer goods is US$248 (7,782 baht), compared with the global median of $833 (26,141 baht), according to a study by social media management platform Hootsuite and global agency We Are Social.
Some 52% of the Thai population who buy items online do so via mobile phone (m-commerce), behind only South Korea at 58%.
The world’s top five countries for e-commerce penetration are the UK, South Korea, Germany, Sweden and the US.
IPrice, the Malaysia-based price comparison website, collected data from 1,000 merchants in Southeast Asian markets and found the Thailand basket size (average spending per user for each online shopping purchase) ranked fourth among six countries in the region.
Singapore has the highest basket size of $91, with GDP per capita of $90,530, while Vietnam scored the lowest with a basket size of $23 and GDP per capita of $6,880.
Thailand’s basket size is in the middle with a value of $42 and GDP per capita of $17,000. Basket size is another key metric for e-commerce operators that heavily affects their profitability.
In Thailand, the desktop conversion rate is 1.3 times higher than the mobile one.
Thailand’s mobile traffic is the second-highest in the region, trailing Indonesia. Mobile’s share of internet traffic in Thailand reached 67% in third quarter of 2016 and was 79% in the second quarter of 2017.
IPrice also found Thailand’s conversion rate — the percentage of website visits that turn into product purchases — was the lowest in Southeast Asia. Thailand and the Philippines are at the bottom of the pack with conversion rates of 20%.
The report noted Wednesday is the day of the week when online shopping reaches its peak. For Thailand, Wednesday’s conversion rate rises 8% above the average, dropping by up to 19-22% at the weekend.
On average, the conversion rate increases to 53% at 11am, reaching 69% at 3pm.
In addition, bank transfers and offline points of sale are popular payment methods in the country. Credit cards are the most widespread form of payment platform offered by Thailand’s e-commerce operators.
With low credit card penetration, Thai e-commerce operators also offer convenient alternatives. Thailand ranked third in ATM transfers and second for offline pointof-sale payments.
Terence Pang, chief operating officer of Shopee, a Singapore-based e-marketplace, said e-commerce in Thailand is projected to total $3.5 billion in 2018 as the shift toward m-commerce picks up steam.
Citing a 2017 Statista report, he said 39% of sales will be conducted on mobile devices.