Thailand’s ecommerce market is booming and shaping up to be one of Asia’s top performers. The imminent start of the government’s national e-payment system aimed at making Thailand a cashless society and expected to see double-digit growth.
The value of the ecommerce market was forecast to be $58.4 billion (2.1 trillion THB) in 2015, a 3.65% increase from 2014. Moody’s Analytics found that the increased use of electronic payments, including credit, debit and prepaid cards, added $3.18 billion (0.19%) to Thailand’s gross domestic product from 2011-2015, the largest weighted average increase in Asia.
The big winner in Thailand’s online marketplace has been its social commerce scene. Thai consumers are rated as being among the most likely in the world to use social media networks to find products and sellers. A March 2016 survey by PwC found that 51% of online Thai shoppers had purchased directly via social media. The rise of mobile commerce has proven to be a boom for e-payments platforms.
The national e-payment system, which will be launched by the government this fall, aims to make Thailand cashless and support the country’s digital economy policy.
Analysts expect the national e-payment program to help propel growth in ecommerce and related fintech.
Earlier this month, Facebook was revealed to be trialing an option in Thailand that would allow users to pay for products listed on Facebook Page, but Facebook is late to the party. Chat app Line, with two million users base has already launched extensive payment options. Alibaba’s third party e-payment platform, Alipay, has also been making inroads in Thailand, along with some of its main Chinese competitors.
As global giants continue to close in, it is this knowledge that could allow the Thailand ecommerce landscape to avoid the fates of South Korea or the United States, where the market was consolidated to the point that only the major players were left standing.
A version of this appeared in Forbes on June 27. Read the full article here.