Analyzing Online Purchase Behavior of Thai Consumers for Beauty Products

Written by: Grace Oktaviani on October 10, 2018

Appearance matters — which is why there are more people purchasing beauty items each year in Thailand. The country’s Cosmetics and Personal Care market is expected to grow 7.7% annually, and with the changing lifestyle that the country’s increasing internet penetration brings, more Thai consumers are turning to online to purchase beauty products.

Why do Thai consumers buy beauty products from online stores

Data from ecommerceIQ Beauty Survey Thailand 2018 shows price is an important factor as 25% of the total 1,874 respondents answered discounts as the top reason to shop beauty products online. Free delivery (24%) followed closely as the second reason.

Figure 1: Reasons why Thai consumers prefer buying beauty products online; ecommerceIQ Beauty Survey Thailand 2018

As the rule of thumb in developing markets like Southeast Asia, including Thailand, consumers tend to be price sensitive.

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) reports that the average salary in the country is approximately 13,789 baht, in line with our report where 35% of our respondents’ monthly income is less than THB 18,000. As such, it’s no surprise why most Thais prefer things that are either free or low-priced, especially for items that aren’t daily necessities.

Figure 2: Average wage categorized by occupation (in baht) in Q2 2018; Bank of Thailand

In addition to price and free delivery, having a wider product selection (19%) is another reason for consumers to purchase beauty products online, most likely due to the lack of offline footprint outside the Metro area. And unlike brick-and-mortar stores, consumers can view and compare a wide array of brands offering similar products in one sitting, allowing them to purchase the cheapest item available in the market in no time.

What beauty items are purchased online?

In general, Thais mostly shop online for skin care products (31%) and color cosmetics (31%), possibly due to high product availability and exclusivity online. Understandably, color cosmetics are mostly purchased by female, while males and third-gender individuals mainly purchase men’s grooming products online.

Figure 3: The category of beauty products purchased by Thai online consumer, depending on gender; ecommerceIQ Beauty Survey Thailand 2018

There are a couple of reasons why color cosmetics are popular among Thai online shoppers. First, there’s sufficient product information for color cosmetics available on the internet, whether it’s from beauty bloggers and vloggers, or product reviews from the consumers.

Figure 4: Search results for make-up tutorial videos on YouTube; YouTube

36% of our respondents say the lack of touch and trial is their main reason why they don’t buy beauty products online. Therefore, the availability of comprehensive product information online might help them overcome the need for having to try it out beforehand.

Figure 5: Top 5 reasons why Thai consumers don’t buy beauty products online; ecommerceIQ Beauty Survey Thailand 2018

Another reason is because color cosmetics are usually priced on a much lower range than other beauty product categories. For price-sensitive societies like Thais, they’re more likely to only shop on affordable products like color cosmetics. This is also supported by our survey findings where over 50% of Thais only spend less than 1,500 baht for beauty products.

Figure 6: The average order value Thais are willing to spend on beauty products in both online and offline channels; ecommerceIQ Beauty Survey Thailand 2018

Where do most Thai shoppers buy their beauty products?

For online purchases, most Thais choose to shop on Lazada (30%) and Shopee (27%), the two biggest ecommerce platforms in Southeast Asia. In line with the top reasons to shop this category online, the two websites are chosen for the many discounts they offer (34%) and because consumers find it convenient to shop on these platforms (35%) as they’re already familiar with the sites.


Figure 7: The online channels Thai online consumers usually buy beauty products from; ecommerceIQ Beauty Survey Thailand 2018
Figure 8: A price promotion banner on the homepage of Lazada Thailand

What does this mean for beauty brands in Thailand?

Generally, Thai consumers aren’t loyal towards a specific brand and are willing to try out other brands. Over 57% of consumers cited looking for variations as the main reason they are open to trying other brands — giving brands the opportunity to always grab more market share.

Figure 9: Factors that drive Thai consumers to change personal care brands; ecommerceIQ Beauty Survey Thailand 2018

And with most Thais using online platforms such as social media and brands’ websites as the place to learn about new beauty trends and products, leveraging online channels have become more important than ever for brands to attract more consumers.

Figure 10: An example of a Thai beauty influencer on social media; Wonderpeach’s Instagram
Figure 11: Social media is the number one destination for Thai consumers to learn about the newest beauty trends; ecommerceIQ Beauty Survey Thailand 2018

However, having a presence online will do brands no good without knowing what consumers actually want. Our survey results indicated that the first thing Thai consumers consider when choosing beauty products is the function (25%), followed by price (22%) and product reviews (17%).

In this context, function means the type of product, for example anti-aging, whitening, or acne-treatment. In Thailand, for example, beauty products with whitening agent is the most popular because of the local beauty perception.

Figure 12: Snail White Body Wash in various ingredients and functions; Snail White Official Facebook
Figure 13: The key features Thais look for when buying beauty products; ecommerceIQ Beauty Survey Thailand 2018

At the end of the day, what matters the most for consumers are good products that bring good results, and product reviews have become an increasingly important part of their decision-making process as it comes from real consumers.

Brands can take advantage of platforms like ReviewIQ to help them connect with real reviewers to leave product reviews after purchase on their official store on e-marketplaces like Lazada.

Figure 14: Using ReviewIQ, Nivea has successfully increased the number of reviews from their consumers for their shop-in-shop on Lazada Thailand.

Over 30% of our Thai respondents are loyal to one brand when choosing products from the beauty category. This shows that as long your brand is offering the right products at the right price and quality, consumers will be less willing to use products from other brands.

The full report for Online Beauty Consumers in Thailand will be out in November 2018. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and be the first to know.

Are you a beauty brand looking to expand online in Southeast Asia? Contact us at hello@ecommerceiq.asia for expert ecommerce advice on growing your brand.

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