KResearch projects that Bangkok residents will spend an average of THB5,700 per person during Songkran in 2021 (based on a 6-day average), resulting in a total spending of THB24 billion, at a 4.0% contraction compared to Songkran in 2019 (Songkran in 2020 was postponed). Consumers remain concerned about their future income and have adopted a cautious stance on spending. While the government’s stimulus measures will ease the cost burdens and improve people’s purchasing power during the Songkran period by boosting consumption of certain products, especially food and beverages, other activities including traveling, interprovincial journeys and shopping will continue to see spending cuts.
The majority of the survey respondents were still worried about the COVID-19 outbreak. Most Bangkok residents indicated that they had chosen to celebrate and dine at home, with dining out at restaurants and ordering food through food delivery applications following in second and third place in terms of popularity. Food and beverage operators that have efficient management in place, strictly adhere to public health standards and focus on price promotion should be able to maintain their turnover during the festivities, as consumers change their behavior to purchase more take-away food and beverage and spend less time away from home. Meanwhile, operators of retail stores, shopping malls, supermarkets and restaurants at shopping malls are still gaining popularity with consumers, especially among those who are not eligible for the government's schemes. To this end, restaurants and stores should adjust their strategies, for instance by adding home-cooked meals, family set meals and special price products to match consumer behavior during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
Despite the return to normal for the Songkran holiday this year, the retail sales outlook throughout 2021 remains bleak, as consumers remain cautious in their spending, focusing mainly on value for money and the price of goods. After the end of stimulus measures, businesses will be challenged to develop new promotional strategies and steadily build consumer awareness, and will have to keep an eye on the government’s new economic stimulus measures for the remainder of the year.
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