Photo credit: elwynn / 123RF

Photo credit: elwynn / 123RF

Social Media Boom in Thailand Leads to a rise in Social Commerce in Thailand

The number of social media users in Asia are expected to surpass the one billion mark by next year, and platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are becoming more than just places to network.

These platforms have become profitable marketplaces not just for merchants who sell items, but also for individuals who are looking to make some extra cash with advertising their goods or services.

And it is millennials who appear to be charging forward in the form of commerce called social commerce or s-commerce.

Essentially, social commerce has provided opportunities to individuals to become entrepreneurs without the risk of traditional retail models.

Social commerce is especially unique since it allows for peer reviews and recommendations to take a central role when it comes to customer decision making.

According to the Electronics Transaction Development Agency (ETDA), Thai people spend an average of 3.5 hours per day on social media; the top three social media platforms are YouTube, Facebook, and Line.

E-commerce in Thailand is an ever-growing area and it is expected that by 2020 about 84 per cent of Thai population or 59 million people will have access to the Internet. The Thai people are among the highest users of mobile Internet, averaging 4.3 hours per day.

The numbers tell the story. In May 2018 alone, people shared more than 17 billion photos, and 400 million people use voice and video chat on Facebook. Meanwhile, as of April 2018, more than 150 million Instagrammers were connecting with businesses each month. And one in three of these conversations generally begins with an Instagram story.

The growing popularity of messaging has created opportunities for businesses of all sizes. From using immersive visuals to establishing confidence and trust, messaging has the unique potential to draw people and businesses together into an ongoing conversation, ultimately enabling even more meaningful connections.

Much of the social shopping scene is populated with small businesses, though numerous corporate retailers also have social media accounts for online sales.

This unique way of conducting business in Thailand has contributed to the ever expanding Thai economy. It has allowed for small business to thrive and expand in the ever volatile retail sector in Thailand and has created jobs for many Thai residents, especially those of lower economic brackets, thus lowering the unemployment rate.

It is also in line with the Thai government’s Smart Nation goals. Due to the growing success of social commerce, more Thai citizens have been moving towards cashless payments and a cashless society.

The Bank of Thailand and many other banks have also worked to create cashless payment methods. Thai citizens who are participating heavily in social commerce are more willing to engage in these new methods of cashless payments and have been using it even outside of social commerce.

Whilst still in its infancy stages, the outlook on social commerce in Thailand is optimistic and is expected to increase exponentially in the next few decades.

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