The rise in living costs, whether it is in food prices, electricity bills or commuting expenses, has affected and generated much anxiety among Bangkok residents, particularly low-income earners who make less than THB15,000 a month, the worst-affected income group in the capital. In general, people with monthly income of less than THB15,000 are seeing a 20 percent increase in their living expenses, compared to late 2021 before the prices of goods and services went up. As a result, Bangkokians have adjusted their spending behavior by making only necessary purchases, reducing or delaying the consumption of luxury goods like fashion products, cutting back on social events and buying cheaper substitute products like budget-friendly meat choices, secondhand items, and second/third-tier brands.
Based on our findings the majority of Bangkok residents anticipate that the issue of rising living costs may continue for more than a year. Aside from the government’s short-term measures aimed at easing consumers’ financial burden stemming from the higher cost of living, and freezing/reducing prices of goods in the business sector to spur consumers’ spending, both the government and private sectors should quickly address a number of significant issues including supply shortages and building a competitive advantage for small business entrepreneurs over the long-term. For instance, pig supply could be increased through state funding and re-establishing confidence among smallholder farmers to resume breeding pigs by means of strict livestock disease prevention and surveillance measures. Additionally, businesses will need to increase their flexibility and manage their costs more effectively. For example, operators may choose to resize or reduce the volume of their products instead of raising prices, or introduce new technology to improve their inventory management, in order to slow down price increases while generating opportunity for growth in the forthcoming period.