Experienced consultant analyses dramatic shift in Thai online shopping trends

In Thailand, online shopping appears to have become the desired norm, with a proportionate increase in consumer expectations, per a survey by advertising consultancy Wunderman Thompson. The data suggest that Thai patrons are willing to increase their online spending provided their experience includes faster delivery schedules among other factors, according to digital and customer relationship management director at Wunderman Thompson, Puvadon Tarasin. The survey drew inference from 1,014 participants across the country.

Traditional marketplaces remain the top choice for shopping inspiration despite stiff competition from social media and search engine platforms. Interestingly, nearly 76% of participants said they were wary of potential counterfeit offerings on marketplace platforms and reviews which couldn’t be trusted, causing them to explore alternative avenues like comparison platforms, brands’ websites or physical shops.

Moreover, previously dominant players observed a noticeable decrease in popularity with less renowned platforms such as price comparison websites, in-store shopping and brand websites gathering momentum. Brand websites are now almost as frequently visited for information as social media platforms, suggesting a shift in preference, Bangkok Post reported.

Consumers’ spending across online platforms is marked by a distinctive fragmentation with a majority of the digital platforms accounting for less than 20% of overall consumer expenditure. A pronounced hike is found in the percentage of consumers whose online spending exceeded 90% of their total outlay, up by a stark 300% in 2023.

The age demographic that exhibited a higher comfort threshold for significant online spending of over 30,000 baht consisted chiefly of younger millennials between 25 to 34 years old, and Gen X aged between 45 and 54 years old. Platform-specific growth was assorted with Shopee experiencing a drop but held up by robust performance by other marketplaces, retail platforms, department stores, brand websites, and niche platforms like gaming and metaverse domains.

Increased patronage for retail websites over social media platforms shed light on a previously unexplored trend largely attributed to consumers’ preference for tangible benefits, the presence of comprehensive and high-quality information, and trustworthy product descriptions. On the other hand, the consumer draw towards shopping on social media platforms saw positive growth, up from 62% last year to a healthy 80% this year.

Platforms like Facebook retained the top spot as a purchase platform despite shedding off a significant chunk of market share from 61% to 38% in 2023. In contrast, TikTok saw its fortunes rise sharply from a mere 8.11% to 29.8% in the same period as a favoured purchase channel. Crucially, the survey noted that despite live shopping events on these platforms bolstering sales, they did not necessarily ensure customer loyalty.

Most keen online shoppers harbour quite high expectations such as free or discounted shipping fees, quicker dispatch times, multiple payment options and a mix of innovation and entertainment in their shopping experience. Around 42% of online shoppers anticipate the delivery of their items in a few days, with a growing 30% of Gen Z shoppers expecting delivery within an hour.

Wunderman Thompson Thailand’s chief strategy officer, Drakon Sirakovit, stressed that brands and retailers should strive to offer a seamlessly integrated shopping experience across all sources, including marketplaces, social media, search engines and in-store shopping. The survey also revealed that, for now, Shopee and other similar marketplaces offer the best shopping experience for their price and ease of product discovery.

Business NewsThailand News

Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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