KResearch projects that the 2021 B2C e-commerce (for products only) will likely expand 30 percent YoY, with an estimated value of THB 300 billion. Its growth is mainly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic which has altered consumer behaviors including the number of buyers and product diversity. At the same time, business operators in the supply chain – for instance, warehouses – have made adjustments to deliveries and offer convenient payment channels to shore up consumers' confidence. Online shopping for each product group tends to grow, based on a relatively small share in comparison to total market value. Beverages and personal care products, in particular, have very small shares though they remain essential goods that consumers will increasingly purchase via this channel. Nevertheless, the growth of e-commerce still depends on consumer adaptability and the readiness of operators in the supply chain.
KResearch assesses that, even though COVID-19 may have triggered higher growth for the B2C e-commerce market than that of retail business in general, it also signals fiercer competition from an increased number of players amid diminished purchasing power, as a majority of consumers are still spending cautiously. In addition, the growth of e-commerce may not be dependent on the overall rise in consumer spending but instead the shift in sales channel – from physical stores to sales via online platforms, especially for food and personal care products. Thus, the challenge for business operators in this market lies in adjusting each sales channel to meet the constant shifts in consumer behavior. If revenue is insufficient or inconsistent, maintaining business continuity will likely be difficult. Going forward, new technology and changing consumer behavior will likely lead to new forms of competition in the retail landscape. Presently, it is still difficult to see who will emerge as market leaders amid numerous challenges. Resiliency and adaptability holds the key for operators so as to accommodate customers' ever-changing demands.
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