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The Dominant Role of E-commerce in Thailand

Most of Thailand’s population of 69.11 million are already online and have been utilising digital platforms for buying items. Some 57 million Thais are regular internet users and 55.5 million are unique mobile users. About  12.1 million Thais currently shop online, and 1.8 million more expected by 2021, by which time some 24.5 percent of the total population will be using e-commerce.

The average user spends more than 8000 THB per year on e-commerce, which will grow to 12000 THB by 2021 according to Statista.

One of the key aspects of Thailand 4.0 is to encourage a cashless society. One year after its launch, Thailand’s PromptPay e-payment scheme has already received 14 million registrations by the start of 2018. There is still a way to go though. Credit card payments for example are popular with e-tailers, but penetration is relatively low among shoppers.

This means e-tailers need to offer more convenient alternatives. 81 percent of companies offer a bank transfer option like ATM transfers, while 46 percent offer offline points of sale such as over-the-counter service at convenience stores. Cash on delivery is another popular option for customers, accounting for 80 percent of all e-commerce transactions

Thailand’s mix of international and local eCommerce stores is indicative of Thai consumers wanting variety when it comes to online shopping.  Global players such as Amazon, eBay, and Agoda continue to remain popular while WeLoveShopping and Pantipmarket, local C2C marketplaces and online communities, prove strong contenders that cater to local tastes.

Growth of eCommerce can boost the use of e-Payment because it can make purchases of goods faster and more convenient.  Thailand’s online and mobile banking market could reach maturity within six years.  This is largely driven by the national e-payment system and the significant growth in mobile broadband penetration.  By 2021, over 85% of the population will go online via mobile phone, an increase of 31% currently.

With a heavy promotion of the national e-payment scheme, both government and private sectors have been encouraging stores and consumers to move away from cash and move towards e-Payment. 

According to the Thailand e-Payment Trade Association, cash transactions are expected to fall from 90% to 50% within the next couple of years. 

The ETDA yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with Srinakarinwirot University to establish an e-commerce park to support e-transaction activities. The park will play an important role in promoting the e-commerce ecosystem, supporting entrepreneurs, SMEs, manufacturers and service providers in the local and international markets.  Thailand's e-commerce park will be a training centre for e-commerce knowledge exchange and workshops for students, entrepreneurs and SMEs.  In 2018, e-commerce will trend toward a big data approach related to personalisation for shoppers, social commerce, blockchain and e-commerce powered by artificial intelligence. 

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