BANGKOK: Thai e-commerce is growing and shifting to mobile while Thai e-commerce businesses are eyeing overseas expansion.

Two thirds (66%) of Thai internet users shop online at least once a month and more than half (53%) have done so using their mobile devices, according to the Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study 2015, which identified trends in payments behaviour and openness to using contactless payments among consumers in six Southeast Asian countries.

For one third (32%) mobile was their preferred online shopping method, The Nation reported, and the responses suggested this could rise to 42% next year, with strongest appetite coming from men.

Thai respondents shopping online were mostly interested in making their lives easier, whether that was by having goods delivered to them directly (40%) or through the overall convenience of the experience (37%).

Factors such as price (15%) and choice (8%) were much less important.

Some of the most popular items bought online are generally unavailable in any other context, such as software, apps and app-related content (53%).

But events and concerts (53%), travel services (47%), and digital content like games, music, and videos (40%) were also widely purchased.

"Categories such as fashion and accessories, movie tickets, and bill payments will become key growth drivers as they have low online share but high frequency of purchase," said Suripong Tantiyanon, Visa country manager, Thailand.

"The high proportion of transactions made via smartphones also presents a strong opportunity for growth," he added.

Meanwhile iTrueMart, Thailand's leading e-commerce retailer, has launched its first e-commerce site in the Philippines as it aims to become the dominant e-commerce player there within two years, the Manila Bulletin reported.

"Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Singapore will follow later in 2016," said Punnamas Vichitkulwongsa, CEO of Ascend Group, owner of iTrueMart.

The expansion comes as businesses across all sectors look to exploit regional opportunities in the development of the ASEAN Economic Community.

"E-commerce will have huge potential when the AEC fully materializes," said Vichitkulwongsa.

But merchants have work to do to if they are to take full advantage of this development. The Visa study highlighted missed sales opportunities due to transactions being abandoned. 

Almost six in ten (57%) consumers had done so, with slow loading pages (35%) and difficulty in navigating websites (24%) the main reasons given.

Data sourced from The Nation, Manila Bulletin; additional content by Warc staff