Thailand eCommerce Market Summary
Thailand’s social media-savvy e-commerce market picks up the pace
• From a very low baseline, Thailand eCommerce Market has grown significantly over the past year.
Major global e-commerce experts such as China and the U.S. are taking note and investing in logistics
and marketing to reach the growing Thai customer base.
• Key shopping events center around the Songkran festival in April, the Thailand Grand Sale between
July and September, 9.9 and the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.
• Thailand’s online culture is distinguished by a love of chat-based social media. Providing a complete
ecosystem where customers can browse, chat, shop and access advice is important in order to satisfy
Thailand’s highly socially adept shoppers, who spend 2.5 hours a day on social platforms
Thailand eCommerce Market: After years of modest growth, 2020 marked a double-digit jump in online sales revenues
Thailand’s US $32.9 billion business to consumer e-commerce market had been growing at a far slower
rate than many of its south-east Asian counterparts prior to the pandemic, with low single-digit growth
since 2017. However, the global pandemic prompted a major shift towards online spending, and e-commerce
grew 19 percent in 2020, kickstarting shopping habits that will likely persist into the future. At present, only 48 percent of the population have made an online purchase, and thus e-commerce takes a relatively small 8 percent share of total retail. As physical and digital infrastructure improve, and as more citizens migrate towards onlineshopping, e-commerce growth is forecast to continue at a steady compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4 percent to 2024.
Thailand eCommerce Market: a mobile and social commerce world leader
Thailand has one of the highest rates of mobile commerce out of all the countries included in our
report, at 75 percent of completed sales,10 making for a US $24.8 billion market. Mobile commerce growth
is predicted to continue at a compound annual growth rate of 11.4 percent to 2024. Already a huge consumer of social media and an early adopter of social commerce, Thailand’s social media-based shopping only gathered speed in 2020
with 56 percent of Thai consumers spending more via social commerce during the pandemic. The top
three sites for shopping are Facebook (58 percent), popular domestic site Line (35 percent) and Instagram (21 percent).
Provide a broad suite of payment options to meet Thailand’s varied payment preferences
At present, online payment preferences are split fairly evenly across different methods, meaning merchants must be able to cater to a wide range of payment options. Cards and bank transfers are the most used choices, with 26 percent and 27 percent market share respectively. Cash (20 percent) and digital wallets (19 percent) are the next-most used methods. True Money and PayPal are key digital wallet brands. With good bank account penetration (92 percent of
citizens hold an account), and the ability to link digital wallets and buy now, pay later options to bank accounts, bank transfers are projected to grow in use to 2024, to take a stronger lead with 32 percent market share, as cash and card use shrink slightly.
Thailand eCommerce Market : Cross-border trade is supported by mega e-commerce merchants establishing new shipping routes
The US $10.6 billion Thai cross-border e-commerce market accounts for almost a third (32 percent) of total e-commerce in Thailand, with half (50 percent) of all online consumers having already made a purchase from abroad. China, Japan and the U.S. are the top three markets to shop with. To seize on Thailand’s appetite for Chinese products, in 2021 Chinese mega e-commerce merchant JD.com launched a dedicated cargo flight route between China and Thailand, enabling two- to three-day product delivery times between the two countries.
Keep it chatty to appeal to conversational Thai commerce style
Facebook considers Thailand and Vietnam as the world leaders in chat-based commerce, based on the volume of messages and data shared between merchants and consumers. As a key sub-sector of social commerce, chat-based commerce can be mastered by optimizing WhatsApp and WeChat-based customer marketing, sales and service, and could prove key to successfully integrating into Thai e-commerce.
@Research by JPMorgan