“Online Shopping” has emerged as a popular choice for shoppers in Thailand. In our survey, fashion merchandise is the most purchased product category for online shoppers with 60 percent of the respondents said that they had bought them online; air ticket reservations took the top spot for the service sector with around 56 percent of our respondents having used such services. Highly popular online channels include stores featured on social media, e.g., Facebook, LINE and Instagram, with over 69 percent of our respondents having made purchases there. These findings are consistent with behavior of Thai internet users who spend most time on social networking sites.
Looking ahead, we at KResearch believe that online shopping will carve out a large role in Thailand's business operations. Being aware of online growth potential, more businesses – be they corporations, SMEs or even international e-commerce companies – have increased their marketing online. Similarly, consumers buying online have multiplied, especially younger users. This suggests an upward trend in the online market, and also stronger competition.
The advances of 3G/4G broadband networks have catalyzed the sprouting of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. KResearch forecasts that users accessing the internet via such devices will likely top 33-34.6 million this year, nearly double that of 2013 at 18.3 million. With the help of these mobile devices that have broken the inhibiting size factor of PCs and other traditional IT hardware, online purchases via newer devices, ‘M-Shopping', should thrive and support online shopping growth in Thailand.
Such a positive outlook, however, may be challenged by security concerns among consumers who are uneasy about financial transactions online. Thus, it might be wise for businesses to improve their online shopping access systems, particularly in the areas of security and trustworthiness, helping consumers to gain confidence with electronic services and thereby change their behavior. The bottom line is that relevant state agencies and merchants must quell those fears to generate more online shoppers – a move that would guarantee future growth in online shopping in Thailand.
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