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E Commerce Industry in Thailand

In 2014, the Asia-Pacific e-commerce industry sales clocked three-times the growth rate compared to North American market.

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Market Overview

In 2014, the Asia-Pacific e-commerce industry sales clocked three-times the growth rate compared to North American market. As a result, fueled by rapid growth in Internet penetration and smartphone users, things for the e-Commerce industry in Thailand are looking promising.

Consumers in every part of the world are unique and come with their own characteristics. Mobile & social commerce are the current trends in Thailand, generating new identities like F-commerce, where F stands for Facebook. This highlights an inherent acceptance of customer-to-customer market.

National Statistical Office of Thailand reports business to consumer as the most common form of e-commerce in the country. In terms of market share value, business-to-business is more than double the business to consumer. Travel & Hospitality industry is the largest segment using e commerce closely followed by fashion accessories.

Millennials are the key drivers of this growth, accounting to almost half the population with Internet access. The consumers have rewarded players that have stood the test of time like Rakuten’s Tarad, Naspers’ Sabuy and Lazada. Though it wasn’t all pink and roses for other players like Naspers’ Multiply. For them the journey was anything but easy so they had to shut shop.

Recent political unrest in January 2014 contributed positively to the ecommerce industry in Thailand.

Cash on delivery is the most preferred payment method in Thailand. The primary reason for this is the fear of fraud in online payments. But it is set to change as percentage of online payments among total transactions is slowly touching double-digit figures.

Line, a popular app in Thailand, partners with well-known brands and provides ‘flash sales’ on the customers’ handset. On December 16th 2013 Maybelline has exclusively launched on LINE a new range of products – a week ahead of the “real world” market – thus giving the opportunity to try out a preview of the new products for the IM app users. People voluntarily sign up to receive these notifications. It has propelled mobile payments like never before and Thailand is next only to China in this region. Competition is getting fiercer day by day as the new entrants are crowding the market.

Industry Evolution

Thai Ecommerce Association was incorporated in 2005 as Thai e commerce club. The agenda was to integrate entrepreneurs in the e commerce space. The association promotes ecommerce by helping people setup their own shop, providing guidelines for the website, logistics and marketing on its website.

The ecommerce market now is in its growth stage in Thailand as there is a perfect blend of players, both big and small. On one side there [3]are organizations like Alibaba, Rakuten and Rocket Internet and on the other side, there are Tahome, PantipMarket and WhatsNew, which are gaining momentum. dubs Rakuten as the larget ecommerce site you have never heard of.

The real reason of this surge is the increase in the number of smartphone users.

Android shows high growth in Thailand market. An average Thai consumer spends 27% of its media time on his/her cellphone.(Source InMobi)

Smartphone sales have increased CAGR 43% from 2006 to 2016 (projected) (Source: Euro monitor). 90% Thai Internet users access internet through their phones.

Key Metrics

Metrics Value Explanation
Base Year 2016 Researched through internet

Market Outlook

As global B2C e-commerce sales hit $1.5 trillion this year, it is clear that e-commerce is a global trend and Southeast Asia’s e-market is no less than a goldmine. Thailand e Commerce market though is still in nascent stage. There are a few milestones that need to be achieved to realize the full potential of the market. The online transactions have just reached double digit figures in terms of percentage. There is a lot of headroom for growth. This being evident to all the players, the race to capture the market share and mind share has begun.


The Survey of e-Commerce Status in Thailand, 2013

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