Lagging e-commerce spending inches up in Thailand
By Suchit Leesa-Nguansuk
E-commerce spending in Thailand has inched higher, but is still lower than the global average.
Thailand’s average e-commerce spending per user for consumer goods is US$248 (7,782 baht), compared with the global median of US$833 (26,141 baht), according to a study by social media management platform Hootsuite and global agency We Are Social.
Some 52 per cent of the Thai population who buy items online do so via mobile phone (m-commerce), behind only South Korea at 58 per cent.
The world’s top five countries for e-commerce penetration are the UK, South Korea, Germany, Sweden and the US.
IPrice, the Malaysia-based price comparison website, collected data from 1,000 merchants in Southeast Asian markets and found the Thailand basket size (average spending per user for each online shopping purchase) ranked fourth among six countries in the region.
Singapore has the highest basket size of US$91, with GDP per capita of US$90,530, while Vietnam scored the lowest with a basket size of US$23 and GDP per capita of US$6,880.
Thailand’s basket size is in the middle with a value of US$42 and GDP per capita of US$17,000. Basket size is another key metric for e-commerce operators that heavily affects their profitability.
In Thailand, the desktop conversion rate is 1.3 times higher than the mobile one.
Thailand’s mobile traffic is t he second-highest in the region, trailing Indonesia. Mobile’s share of internet traffic in Thailand reached 67 per cent in third quarter of 2016 and was 79 per cent in the second quarter of 2017.
IPrice also found Thailand’s conversion rate — the percentage of website visits that turn into product purchases — was the lowest in Southeast Asia. Thailand and the Philippines are at the bottom of the pack with conversion rates of 20 per cent.
The report noted Wednesday is the day of the week when online shopping reaches its peak. For Thailand, Wednesday’s conversion rate rises eight per cent above the average, dropping by up to 19-22 per cent at the weekend.
On average, t he conversion rate increases to 53 per cent at 11am, reaching 69 per cent at 3pm.
In addition, bank transfers and offline points of sale are popular payment methods in the country. Credit cards are the most widespread form of payment platform offered by Thailand’s e-commerce operators.
With low credit card penetration, Thai e-commerce operators also offer convenient alternatives. Thailand ranked third in ATM transfers and second for offline pointof-sale payments.
Terence Pang, chief operating officer of Shopee, a Singapore-based e-marketplace, said e-commerce in Thailand is projected to total US$3.5 billion in 2018 as the shift toward m-commerce picks up steam.
Citing a 2017 Statista report, he said 39 per cent of sales will be conducted on mobile devices.