By The Nation
The number of internet users has grown four times over the past 10 years, and many Thai-International platforms have grown to support the number of online shoppers, along with increasing confidence in e-Payment and faster logistics and delivery services, ETDA said, projecting that the value of e-Commerce in Thailand will grow further by 20 per cent this year.
Service providers have chosen to use Big Data to analyse the behaviour and needs of consumers, while AI is being used to develop the quality of the product and services through uses of Chatbots. Trends show that growth will continue with the arrival of 5G, creating new innovations that will lift up the quality of life for consumers.
Surangkana Wayuparp, president of Electronic Transactions Development Agency (Public Organisation) or ETDA, Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DE) said that the results of surveys show that the value of e-Commerce in Thailand has grown consistently between 8-10 per cent per year.
ETDA has been collecting these statistics since 2014. When comparing the number of internet users over the past 10 years, there were only 16.1 million internet users in 2008; latest information revealed that in 2017, there were 45.2 million users.
This reflects the change in consumer behaviour that has come as a result of the changes in technology and communication devices, as well as the reduction of the price of these devices and services, which has resulted in more people having more online access.
This has resulted in the e-Commerce market of Thailand growing as well, including increasing numbers of both buyers and online sellers, which is also in line with the growth of platforms by Thai and international businesses.
Surangkana said: “Thailand is a country that has considerable strengths in the B2C sector - one of the biggest growths in Asean. Comparing the value between 2016 and 2017, we found that there was a growth in value of around Bt160 billion. Part of that value has been created from the growing confidence in e-Payment technology, the increased convenience, and the better logistics, which has resulted in more and more consumers turning to use online markets.
“When looking at the opportunities for products and services, we see that the online department store business have grown because of promotions that draw in customers, the credibility of the service as well as the confidence in the existence of the sellers’ shops, with Facebook at the top of the list, utilising 'Boosted Posts' and 'Boosted Ads' to reach more customers and accurate target groups.
“The sector of online digital marketing has also grown since 2017 by about 69.92 per cent, with Facebook at top of the list, both in terms of 'Boosted Posts' and 'Boosted Ads' to reach more customers more accurately.”
ETDA said every service provider has made more use of information, or Big Data, in developing the e-Commerce business by bringing in the analysis of consumer behaviours to develop new products that will meet the needs of the consumers. Some 92.85 per cent of service providers also use this information to create their marketing strategies, and 85.71 per cent use Big data to analyse the different environmental elements that might impact buyer decisions so that they can plan the distribution of their products accordingly.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been used to improve the quality of products and services, ETDA said. The top use for AI is in the service sector, such as the use of Chatbots to provide information to customers quickly, and for CRM purposes (69.23 per cent).
The second highest use of AI is in other areas of business, such as Claims analytics, Underwriting (23.07 per cent) and use in consumer behaviour analytics and decision making for management, both of which come in at 15.38 per cent.
At the same time, Thailand is stepping into the 5G era, which is resulting in many new innovations that will lift up the quality of life for people, whether it is the use of drones for delivery and drones for security reasons, 360 degrees video streaming and livestreaming, 3D virtual reality for educational purposes,etc.
These new innovations will help to drive Thai e-Commerce to develop even further, ETDA said. Statistically, Thailand has over 45 million internet users last year, together with 124.8 million mobile subscribers, 44 million people using LINE messenger, 52 million Facebook users.
At the same time, social commerce is also growing strongly, ETDA said. Thai people are choosing to buy through Social Commerce as the second most popular platform after e-Marketplaces because it is a platform that makes selling and buying easier, reducing the barriers between the sellers and buyers, and increasing the power of negotiation for buyers, allowing buyers to have more choices.
In addition, there is another aspect of e-Commerce that consumers give importance to: logistics. Logistics has also developed in response to consumer needs with tracking services that accurately track purchases and delivery, which allows for more confidence in buying from online shops. There are also many choices for logistics services available with high competition among them, which results in increased customer satisfaction since these services now cover a larger area, and is not just centred in big cities.
As a result, ETDA said it is possible to drive Thai e-Commerce to the international market, especially when looking at the strengths of Thailand, which is the 4th most popular destination to visit of the world, and the popularity of Thai products among varied countries, such as:
• Vietnam, where Thai consumer products are very popular, as well as cosmetics and childrens’ products.
• Indonesia, where Thai snacks are incredibly popular.
• India, where Thai spices and cosmetics are popular.
• China, where Thai cosmetics, herbal remedies, and clothes and bags are popular.
The strengths of Thai products are able to create opportunities for e-Commerce businesses with a unique identity and distinctive elements that stand out from others.
To continue to build market value even more, ETDA is cooperating with many partners in both public and private sectors, as well as educational institutions, to support the development of an e-Commerce Silicon Valley through their Young Talent Platform, creating a workforce that will be able to support Thai e-Commerce businesses in all aspects, and taking Thailand’s e-Commerce businesses to the international level in the future.