By SOMLUCK SRIMALEE
The latest reports by Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) show e-commerce in Thailand grew to Bt3.2 trillion in 2018, the strongest growth in the Asean region last year.
As the numbers of internet users also grew four times over the past 10 years, many international platforms in Thailand have grown to support the increasing number of online shoppers, the ETDA report found. Consumers are also showing increased confidence in e-payment systems, as well as in the faster logistics and delivery services, the ETDA said.
Service providers have chosen to use big data to analyse the behaviours and needs of consumers, while artificial intelligence is being tapped to develop the quality of both products and services through the use of chatbots. Trends show that growth will continue with the arrival of 5G, creating new innovations that some say will improve the quality of life for consumers.
Surveys show that the value of e-commerce in Thailand has grown consistently at between 8-10 per cent per year since the time the ETDA has been collecting these statistics in 2014, said Surangkana Wayuparp, the president of the ETDA, an agency of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society.
When comparing the number of internet users over the past 10 years, the Kingdom had 16.1 million internet users in 2008, while the latest analysis found 45.2 million in 2017. The decade of growth reflects changes in consumer behaviour resulting from new technologies and communication devices, as well as the reduced prices of both advanced devices and services.
With more people having more online access, Thailand’s e-commerce market is also growing, increasing the numbers of both buyers and sellers online. And this is again reflected in the growth of platforms serving both national and international businesses.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s internet economy is forecast to be worth US$43 billion (Bt1.33 trillion) in 2025, according to the latest study, “e-Conomy SEA 2018: Southeast Asia’s Internet Economy Reaches an Inflection Point”. Thailand’s internet economy in 2018 was an estimated $12 billion.
The research, conducted by Google and Temasek, says that Southeast Asia’s internet economy will surge from $72 billion in 2018 to $240 billion in 2025.
Thailand enjoys the second-largest internet economy in Southeast Asia, with a 22 per cent growth rate per year. It now contributes 2.7 per cent of national gross domestic product (GDP), lower than the 6.5 per cent in China and the US in 2016. That leaves a huge opportunity to accelerate growth.
“This is the way that we have to move to digital and online booking for our business,” Sansiri Plc’s chief technology officer, Tawicha Trakulyingyong, said.