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Thais worried about uncertain economic situation, limit overall spending: Hakuhodo survey


Thai consumers are worried about the uncertain economic situation caused by the third Covid-19 wave, but despite a steady decrease in overall spending, they seem to be willing to pay for food and goods such as smartphones that can be used to make money, according to a survey by Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living Asean (Thailand) in collaboration with Spa-Hakuhodo that studied consumer spending in Thailand as of June 2021.

They tend to enjoy shopping either online or offline as a route to stress relief, Hakuhodo said in a press release announcing the survey results on Tuesday.

Consumers have also become less happy due to the prolonged epidemic situation, having managed to trim unnecessary spending and seeking ways to earn extra income in the future.

“The third wave of Covid-19 has caused Thais intense anxiety, Hakuhodo Institute business director Chutima Wiriyamahakul said.

The institute’s "Thailand Consumption Forecast" online survey of 1,200 male and female respondents aged between 20 and 59 from six regions across the country indicated two key points on consumer spending behaviour:

1. Consumers have braced for the pandemic, but believe life must go on. The third wave has forced people to spend less compared to April 2021. Although overall spending has decreased, basic needs such as those for food, drinks and other necessities appear to have increased. People have to pay for gasoline to get to work and many of them decided to stop dining out to save money and reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19.

The level of demand for spending in Thailand is currently 54 out of 100, dropping 2 points from 56 in the previous survey. Meanwhile, the current happiness level remains unchanged at 65, similar to the previous survey, but has been estimated to decline in the next three months due to increased concerns regarding the spread of Covid-19.

Thais worried about uncertain economic situation, limit overall spending: Hakuhodo survey

2. Many have delayed big item purchases, but are willing to pay for something smaller to keep them happy. High-priced items, for instance, home appliances and smartphones, are always in demand despite the decrease in spending. Smartphones and related gadgets are considered a necessity since they help people, particularly those selling products and services online. Additionally, as shopping can relieve stress, mid-year sales campaigns launched by several shopping centres have attracted consumers to buy products at cheaper prices. According to the survey, beauty products have also gained greater popularity among Thai consumers.

People have become more cautious in spending as the third Covid-19 wave is nothing short of an unprecedented crisis, where five best-selling products or services amid the pandemic are food (28 per cent), daily necessities (16 per cent), smartphones (8 per cent), household appliances (6 per cent), and beauty products (5 per cent), explained Nattakarn Wattanamongkolsil, strategic planning director, and Nagorn Chotisangasa, associate strategic planning director of Spa-Hakuhodo.

Thais worried about uncertain economic situation, limit overall spending: Hakuhodo survey

Categorised by region, consumers in Bangkok and its vicinity tend to put on hold spending during the crisis, similar to those living in the central and southern regions. The northern and northeastern regions have also experienced reduced demand in spending. Meanwhile, the spending level in the east has dropped 8 points to 51 from 59 in the previous survey. This resulted from local business people hoarding inventories to support the tourist season in April, but tourism has since been restrained due to the third wave.

When classified by age, consumers aged 30-39 have slowed their spending as most are main earners in their families and have no financial stability compared to those aged 40 and above. People in this age group too have limited spending on clothes, travel and eating out, the survey showed.

It also found that the third wave is still the most-discussed subject, increasing to 83 per cent from 59 per cent in the previous survey. Some people enjoy talking about political issues, especially those related to the coronavirus pandemic, with 4 per cent of the level of interest.

Thais worried about uncertain economic situation, limit overall spending: Hakuhodo survey

The survey also revealed that Thai consumers are eager to seek new opportunities to survive in the future, where interesting topics vary from vaccine distribution to new ways to earn more money, including investing in stocks and even bitcoin.

Projections on consumer spending in Thailand are surveyed every two months by Hakuhodo Institute and its affiliates with the objective to keep monitoring spending trends in the kingdom.

More information can be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/hakuhodohillasean.

Published : June 02, 2021

By : THE NATION