Amid soaring numbers of gamers and gaming revenues, i-dac Bangkok’s Suchada Supakan deep dives into the Thai gaming industry to define the marketing opportunities for brands.

Thais have always been up for the game – this is not an overstatement with four out of 10 Thais listing gaming as one of their top five entertainment activities (newzoo, April 2021) and this is what’s driving the massive growth in the number of gamers and gaming revenue year on year.

“When I was a kid, I was taught to focus more on school than waste my time playing games,” said i-dac Bangkok’s Head of Creative, Sayam Doungklin. “But a few decades later, the world has changed and gaming in Thailand has become an integral part of pop culture where anyone can participate casually or professionally. Gaming is no longer just a game!”

He added that as Thailand's gaming industry and revenue grow exponentially, many Thai gamers are now making a living by playing online games directly or indirectly, while casual gamers are spending more money on online games and related merchandise.

“Many brands in Thailand have also started to invest their marketing budget for digital games and are using games as a key touchpoint to connect with their target audience. Nonetheless, I think there is still much room for in-game marketing to grow in the coming years.”

Thailand: One of SEA’s highest growth gaming markets

The gaming ecosystem in Thailand has been getting bigger in recent years. The onset of the pandemic boosted it further with gamers in lockdown and 2020 saw THB100 million in gaming revenue from 32 million Thai gamers (Newzoo, April 2021) and THB12.9 billion in e-commerce gaming revenue, up +25% from 2019 (Hootsuite, January 2021).

As for the gender profile of Thai gamers, it is evenly split with 49.5% male and 50.5% female (GWI Q1, 2021).

  • From baby boomers to Gen Z, >35% of each generation are interested in online gaming.
  • Those aged 16-44 living in urban and suburban areas are the majority.
  • 77% are regular gamers, with 50% playing daily, 22% 3-6 days a week, 16% 1-2 days a week, 2% 1-2 times a month, and 11% less than once a month.

And the smartphone is their favourite device:

  • 87% play on a smartphone – aged 16-64, living in all areas in all income ranges.
  • 40% play on a computer – aged 16-34, living in urban and suburban areas, with middle-to-upper-class income.
  • 23% play on a tablet – aged 16-44, living in urban areas, with middle-to-upper-class income.
  • 21% play on a game console – aged 25-44, living in urban areas, with upper-class income.

According to an i-dac Bangkok survey conducted in August 2021, most Thai gamers would consider themselves to be “game addicts” – “once a day” is not enough.

  • 50% play games 1-3 times a day
  • 6% play more than 6 times a day
  • 5% play 4-5 times a day
  • 40% play occasionally

More than half also spend up to four hours a time playing:

  • 55% spend 1-4 hours each time playing games
  • 41% spend less than 1 hour
  • 4% spend 5-6 hours per time
  • 1% spend more than 8 hours per time

Frequency of playing a game by device

Platform stakes

Overall, video gaming platforms are still ahead of online-streaming games but Facebook with its focus on short-form content is better at retaining its gamer audiences for up to an hour.

Time spent watching online-streaming games

Favourite gaming genres

According to i-dac Bangkok’s August 2021 survey, Thai gamers have a strong desire to create their own experiences in simulation games where they are free to do what they want.

They also like role playing, action and adventure games because of the excitement and thrills from the challenges.

  • 42% simulation games
  • 36% shooting games
  • 35% MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena)
  • 34% puzzle games
  • 29% adventure games

There are 5 types of Thai gamers.

  • 42% are Low-Key Gamers – “I play games just to relax when I have time or when I have a friend to mingle with. I can only afford the gaming items that I really like.”
  • 25% are Competitive Gamers – “I’m so determined to accomplish my mission. I won’t leave my game without stepping up to the next level and the world needs to see it.”
  • 21% are Learner Gamers – “I’m not that good at playing games so I keep up with watching gaming broadcasts for entertainment, experience and learn how to level up my game.”
  • 10% are Socialised Gamers – “I don’t want to be missed out among my peers.”
  • 2% are Broadcaster Gamers – “I like to show off my gaming abilities to the world.”

What it means for brands

With gaming fast becoming a major leisure and professional activity among Thais, understanding the type of gaming consumers and how to connect with them positively are essential next steps for advertisers. Brands can approach a wide range of gamer segments across various demographics with no limit to age or income via their mobile devices.

Let the gamers create and design freely to strengthen the relationships between your brand and your gamer audience. The way in is to understand gamers’ lives to connect and add value for them from your brand proposition via gaming.

Some see gaming as an entertaining pastime but for others, gaming is their passion. Some regard it as their social space while others use gaming as a theatre to present themselves. These different motivations allow brands to design various engagement activities to build a strong bond with this rapidly expanding group of consumers in Thailand. The type of games that they love are the ones that let them create their own in-game experiences and in-game is precisely where brands should be to build their relationships with Thai gamers.

Types of Thai Gamers

Who are They


1)   The Low-Key Gamers

·      16-54-year-old males & females of all income ranges living in urban areas. (GWI, Q1 2021)

·      Spend 1-3 days a week and 30 min - 2 hrs a day to play games

·      Play games as a leisure activity to relieve stress or to kill time

·      Hardly spend money on in-games purchases unless they find something they really like

·      Open to ads and to download games seen in the ads even during their playtime


·      Interest-based ad targeting will work well to approach these highly ad-receptive audiences.  Google Ads, Facebook Ads or Programmatic Ads can be utilised to reach these average gamers.

2)   The Competitive Gamers

·      16-24-year-old males & females of all income ranges living in urban areas (GWI, Q1 2021)

·      Spend, at least, 4 days a week and 3 hrs+ a day to play games

·      Focused on gaming contents and being outstanding in the server

·      Ready to pay for additional contents of the games or in-games purchase to accomplish their mission

·      Tend to get annoyed by an ad banner


·      Limited-edition game items by brands create a tempting attraction for these competitive gamers.


·      Brand sponsorship has a space to connect during these gamers’ receptive moments.



3)   The Learner Gamers

·      16-44-year-old males & females of all income ranges living in urban areas (GWI, Q1 2021)

·      Mostly watch online-streaming games for entertainment, experience and learning to level up their games, while moderately playing games

·      Identify and scout for their favorite games streamers and utilize these streamers to connect with these ‘Learner Gamer’ audiences.

·      In-games sponsorships can attract highly receptive audiences in a positive way.

4)   The Socialized Gamers

·      16-44-year-old males & females of all income ranges living in urban areas (GWI, Q1 2021)

·      Spend 1-3 days a week and 30 min - 2hrs a day to play games

·      Play games to be a part of their peers

·      Willing to spend money on gaming items to keep up with the others

·      Easily influenced by their peers to keep up within the games

·      Use team gaming campaign concepts to engage these gamers.

·      Team items such as team skins or badges create an attraction and connection between a brand and these folks

5)   The Broadcaster Gamers

·      16-44-year-old males & females with middle-to-upper-class income living in urban areas. (GWI, Q1 2021)

·      Play games as if it’s a full-time job

·      Some became gaming influencers with the aim to increase their followers and to be sponsored by brands

·      Very influential among their passionate followers  

·      Brand sponsorships during live broadcasting can trigger instant purchases

·      Branded gaming items are popular among those passionate gamers

·      Creativity is key to drive engagements


What it means for brands

Tailor your advertising approach to each type of gamer.

Each group not only has different interests, behaviours and desired outcomes towards gaming; they also have different receptive levels towards advertising. 

How Thai gamers interact with gaming advertisements

One finding is that in-game ads are mostly viewed and clicked through.  

  • 84% saw ad banners & VDO ads (I-dac (Bangkok) August 2021 survey).
  • 48% of them clicked through ad banners & VDO ads (I-dac (Bangkok) August 2021 survey).
  • “I would click on the ad only if it extends my Avatar’s life or gives me a free diamond.” (Online Consumer Voice, Aug 2021)
  • “I saw it and I just looked for the item on Lazada instead of clicking on the ad.” (Online Consumer Voice, Aug 2021)
  • “I often see the ads of new gaming applications while playing HomeScape. I downloaded almost every new game I saw on the ad but I found only 5% of those were fun.” (Online Consumer Voice, Aug 2021)

Branded gaming activities work when they are relevant

  • 51% would purchase branded gaming merchandise if currently using the brand or product.
  • 46% would try to purchase branded gaming merchandise to see if it helps to level up their game.

What it means for brands

Join them at their receptive moments and engage them with what’s relevant. 

An in-game ad tends to create less disruption and generates positivity among passionate gamers who will do whatever it takes to fulfill their enjoyment. And the next move for a brand is to join them and create a lasting relationship.

This article is part of an ongoing series with i-dac Bangkok based on their monthly i-dac Digital Flash series, featuring insights into trends in Thailand.

The series is led by the Digital Strategic Planning unit:

  • Suchada Supakan, Head of Digital Strategic Planning
  • Natthaporn Loetsakulcharoen, Senior Manager of Digital Strategic Planning
  • Laddawan Thanlap, Senior Digital Strategic Planner

i-dac Bangkok is a digital agency specialising in performance media, branded content, and data marketing.