During the national lockdown in Thailand, the Thai government implemented a number of restrictions to freedom of movement in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the country. This included international travel bans and travel restrictions within Thailand, as well as the closure of consumer foodservice and non-essential retailing.
Proximity payments took off in Thailand towards the end of the review period, although it has so far taken some time for these to enter the mainstream. However, 2019 saw a watershed moment in the development of digital payments in the proximity environment as Shell became the first forecourt retailer in Thailand to announce that it would be accepting proximity payments via QR code.
E-commerce continue to record strong growth in Thailand towards the end of the review period and this can be attributed in no small part to the efforts of industry players to attract consumers, mainly in the remote environment. E-commerce continues to develop at a brisk pace in Thailand as consumers increasingly come to understand the benefits that e-commerce offers, such as lower prices and greater convenience.
Transport e-commerce is expected to begin its recovery with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in 2021. As the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and the national vaccine programme begins, Thai authorities are expected to ease restrictions, which will begin the road to recovery for transport e-commerce.
Even though foodservice and retailing e-commerce were both boosted by the closure of outlets to eat-in consumption and store-based retailing in 2020, both categories in e-commerce (goods and services) are projected to maintain strong growth in the forecast period, despite a slight decline projected for foodservice e-commerce in the remote environment in 2023. This continued momentum suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic did not only lead to a temporary shift to e-commerce in retailing and consumer foodservice, but that the pandemic actually accelerated a more widespread shift to e-commerce channels in these categories, with both categories maintaining a positive trajectory in the coming years.
Social media usage continues to grow in Thailand with rising numbers of subscribers to the country’s leading social media platforms Facebook and LINE. One consequence of this is that strong growth is now being seen in informal digital commerce and social commerce as Facebook Marketplace and other social media consumer-to-consumer selling platforms appeal to the prevailing consumer attitudes towards shopping and the country’s unique general retailing culture.
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