Thais take to online shopping

30 May 2013

BANGKOK: Almost half of Thai people made their first online purchase within the past two years and more than half of buyers were likely to share recommended purchases on social media sites, according to a leading e-commerce site.

Research by Tarad.com, a leading Thai e-commerce company now owned by Rakuten, said that 47.5% of Thais had only recently begun to buy items online – health and beauty products, fashion items and watches were most popular – and that 64.5% of shoppers intended to share information on social media sites.

Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, founder and managing director of Tarad.com, told the Bangkok Post he expected social networking to play a greater role in e-commerce in the future.

During the first quarter Tarad.com introduced an app to expand its Facebook fans which had helped generate a 250% rise in gross merchandise sales, he said.

In addition, he predicted that mobile commerce would grow dramatically. He noted that Tarad.com's mobile traffic share had been continuously increasing and said that during the coming year the company would offer special deals for mobile shoppers.

Tarad.com also reported a significant increase in the number of older online buyers and said that tablets were generating the highest volume of online sales.

The pace of growth was further demonstrated by an announcement from Lazada, a German-owned online retail store which set up in Thailand last year, that it planned to more than double the number of product lines it offers, from 20,000 to 50,000 stock keeping units.

Chanchai Akaravetwattana, Lazada Thailand general manager, explained that the business had rapidly established itself by offering free delivery, payment on delivery and easy returns, as well as by heavy investment in advertising.

Chanchai also noted that buyers were not just in the capital, and gave as an example the purchase patterns for SLR cameras.

"Today we sell 150 SLR camera sets per month and most orders are customers in the provincial market," he said. "The purchasing power in the provincial market is relatively high."

Data sourced from the Bangkok Post; additional content by Warc staff