Thailand is one of the most economically thriving countries in Southeast Asia. With a population of almost seventy million as of 2020, Thailand’s streets, especially in Bangkok, are full of prosperous local businesses and well-known modern retailers to satisfy potential consumers. Thailand’s retail industry is constantly evolving and improving to respond to the growing demand from consumers where convenience seems to be the key. In 2018, The wholesale and retail sector, together with the vehicle maintenance and household goods sector, contributed almost three trillion Thai baht to the GDP in Thailand. This was a good indication of the GDP contribution the retail sector in Thailand had to offer. In that same year, retail sales in Thailand were also forecasted to increase from the previous years, despite fluctuating sales figures since 2009.
Growth over the years
As the demand for products increased, Thai consumers were changing the way they purchase products. Traditional trading at markets and small independent businesses was being replaced with modern trading to satisfy the needs of consumers. Types of modern retailers in Thailand include convenience stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets, and discount markets. These modern retailers are seen and accessible all over Thailand, especially convenience stores, which accounted for more than half of the market share of modern trade in 2018. In the same year, convenience stores also had the highest share of shopping outlets in Thailand. This was followed by discount stores.
The retail sector in Thailand is highly competitive and numerous retail companies compete for a piece of the market. In 2019 the biggest player in the retail sector in Thailand was CP All Public Company Limited, generating a revenue of almost half a trillion Thai baht from its store outlets. CP All is the owner of the most distributed and well-known convenience store in Thailand, 7-Eleven. In the first half of 2019, 7-Eleven alone generated an impressive sales value of approximately 155 billion Thai baht in Thailand.
At present times, technology has stormed into all industries and Retail is no exception with the increasing trends of online shopping being the major driver. The growing mobile and internet penetration across Thailand is instrumental in continuous e-commerce growth. Also, the Internet of Things (IoT) is reshaping the retail industry. However, it remains to be seen how the price variations between online and traditional stores can challenge the retail market growth.
Thailand’s retail sector is anticipated to continue growing with the scenario of its stable political environment. The Thai consumers will keep on shifting from the concept of the traditional market towards the convenience store and other modern trends in retail markets. High-end smartphones and the growing awareness of technology in the young and tech-savvy population are expected to drive more growth in the retail online commercial market.
With the penetration of internet, digitization, and the increase in social media users in Thailand, the number of Thais was reported to be shopping online with their smartphones. Thailand is ranked in the top 10 on-line or e-commerce markets globally. Retailers are commencing to notice these trends and are moving towards multi-channel strategies to step into this flourishing market with the digitization of the platforms to afford new sales avenues. Numerous retailers have introduced mobile applications to prop up their new product launches and promotional offers and to generate new opportunities to attract customers.