By SPECIAL TO THE NATION
If you searched “top 5 countries for the highest internet usage in 2018”, in which position would you expect to find Thailand?
According to Digital 2018 global review, on average, Thai people spent around 9.38 hours per day on the internet. This gave Thailand first ranking for the highest internet usage in the world.
Moreover, the internet penetration rate here is high relative to neighbouring countries and continues to increase. A study from Internet World Stats indicated that around 57 million people or 83 per cent of Thailand’s total population used the internet in 2017. Over half of them are using it for online shopping.
In 2018, e-commerce businesses in Thailand enjoyed 8.8 per cent growth, and were valued at Bt3.06 trillion, according to ETDA. Driving the growth is the ease and shortened time required for online shopping. People can filter what they want and compare prices – all within a search lasting just a few minutes and so saving time and travelling costs. Additionally, e-commerce can deliver to customers rare items from far away or hard-to-access sources.
Due to the proliferation of e-commerce and a shift in customer behaviour, the consumption of traditional channels, such as TV commercials, has been decreasing. Meanwhile, digital-channel consumption – such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram – is taking their place.
In the era of Thailand 4.0, our digital ad-spending will see much faster growth. Our current spending on digital ads is just 0.4 per cent – or 10 times lower than in the US where it accounts for 4 per cent of e-commerce revenue.
Therefore, marketing strategies need to keep up with the pace of digital trends and the shift in Thai behaviours. Although it seems on the surface that businesses could benefit more from promoting their brands on digital ads such as through social media, in reality businesses can’t win the jackpot just by picking the right channel alone. The key success factor is to also concentrate on customer experiences. Ambassador Consulting found that 71 per cent of customers are likely to recommend a brand to others if they had a good customer experience on social media services. Additionally, 29 per cent of customers who are ignored on social media are more likely to turn to competitors instead, according to Sprout Social. In this case, chatbot can be used to ensure real-time responses.
To maximise customers’ satisfaction and minimise time wasted on searching, personalised content is really important. However, customers’ privacy should be ensured during data collection processes for personalisation. If privacy is not ensured, customer will avoid sharing information publicly.
The cybersecurity industry is on an upward trend in Thailand 4.0 due to the heightened risk of cybercrime associated with increased business digitalisation. It is inevitable than an increase in cyberattacks will occur, along with resultant huge fines and damages.
Mordor Intelligence predicts that the global cybercrime market, which was approximately Bt3.3 trillion in 2017, will grow at 15 per cent CAGR from 2018 to 2023, reaching about Bt7.6 trillion in 2023.
In Thailand, according to Thai Tech, victims of cyberattacks lost approximately Bt1 billion in 2015. Hence, enterprises need to prepare and invest in security systems to stay out of trouble.
In particular, there is a need to focus on data breaches, one of the most crucial issues in cybercrime. In Europe, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) law protecting data of EU citizens was launched in May 2017. Under this law, Facebook could be fined Bt51 billion in the event of a data breach of over 50 million accounts. The regulation deliberately includes fines against firms that failed to take sufficient action to prevent a data breach.
Cybersecurity is critical because the cost of cyberattacks is not limited to the monetary impact on profits, but rather includes reputation damage as well as sustainability.
We’ve looked at the three rising stars of business in 2019. In particular, the e-commerce market and digital marketing compare to offer huge opportunities for growth for Thailand in comparison to developed markets such as the US. Moreover, the cybersecurity business will also enjoying rising demand since Thailand is one of the world’s top targets for hackers. To push these businesses forward towards global competitiveness, the public sector has a probably role to develop and facilitate digital-related processes, as well as regulations, at the same pace as the private sector.
Views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily of TMB Bank or its executives.
Contributed by CHANIPUN CHATRUNGRUEANGCHAI.
She can be reached at [email protected]