Discover online payments and e-commerce in Thailand

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Countries Thailand

Intro Thailand

Thailand is a fast-growing market and one of the largest e-commerce markets in Southeast Asia. To prosper, new entrants will need a localised product and a customer experience that is well adapted for mobile devices.

The IMF predicts that the Thai economy will grow by 3.3% in 2022 and 4.3% in 2023 [1]. However, this may need to be revised down. The country’s central bank is now estimating full-year growth of between 2.2% and 3.5% for 2022 [2]. According to the latest available labour-market figures, the Thai unemployment rate is just 1.64% [3].

Thailand’s e-commerce market

The Thai e-commerce market is worth US$ 76 billion and is growing at a rate of 20% a year [4]. The average Thai online consumer spends US$1,074 a year with cross-border and Thai e-commerce merchants [4]. But the sector is still small, e-commerce sales make up just 13% of all the country’s retail sales [4].

The number of Thai households that used e-commerce rose by 58% in 2020, with a massive rise in the food category of 74% compared to 60% for the non-food segment [5]. The Thai e-commerce market share for FCMG goods has risen from 14% in Q1 2019 to 23% in the same period in 2021 [6].  On 1st September 2021 non-resident companies providing digital services in Thailand will be expected to register to pay 7% VAT if their annual income exceeds 60,000 USD [7].

Thirty percent of online shoppers have shopped cross border [4]. And Thai cross-border purchases spend US$8.1 billion a year [4]. E-commerce users complete 60% of all online purchases on a mobile device [4].

Payment methods in Thailand


In the Thai payments market, cards have a 17% share of the market. 19% use e-wallets, 31% bank transfer and 22% prefer cash payments [4]. The remaining 11% is shared among various cross-border and Thai local payment methods [4].  The card market is dominated by Visa, with a 68% market share [4]. Mastercard is second, with 20% of the card market. American Express has just 1% [4].  Local cards and other payments make up the last 11% [4].

Enabling and limiting factors

82% of Thais have a bank account but just 10% have a credit card [4]. However, this is not the full story. Although relatively few people are completely unbanked, as many as 45% are underbanked — with only a deposit account and no access to any other financial services [8]. But a recent report by the World Bank notes the potential of fintech to transform financial-services in the country for the better, with 140 native fintech firms already operating 43% of digital-finance activity in the country focusing on payments [9].

70% of Thais have Internet access and 54% have an Internet-enabled smartphone [4]. According to eMarketer, more than 90% of Thai Internet users rely on their smartphone to go online compared to only 25% who use a laptop [10]. Any market strategy for the country must be mobile first, or risk losing out on almost half the available customer base.

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.imf.org/en/Countries/THA
  2. https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/5/17/bb-thailand-lowers-gdp-outlook-on-ukraine-war-china-slowdown
  3. https://www.reuters.com/markets/asia/thai-q4-jobless-rate-lowest-level-since-pandemic-curbs-ease-2022-02-28
  4. Original PPRO research
  5. https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30403806
  6. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1208410/thailand-market-share-of-ecommerce-for-fmcg
  7. https://pugnatorius.com/e-commerce
  8. https://www.getbanqin.com/post/a-look-into-financial-inclusion-in-thailand
  9. https://startupinthailand.com/thailands-fintech-growth-is-amongst-the-fastest-in-asean/
  10. https://www.emarketer.com/Article/More-than-90-of-Internet-Users-Thailand-Use-Smartphones-Go-Online/1015217

Popular Payment Methods in Thailand

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Quick facts

The number of Thai households that switched to online shopping rose by 58% in 2020, with a massive rise in the food category of 74% compared to 60% for the non-food segment.

n 1st September 2021 non-resident companies providing digital services in Thailand will be expected to register to pay 7% VAT if their annual income exceeds 60,000 $US.

Thailand’s economy dropped by 6.1% in 2020 but is forecast to grow by 2.6% in 2021 and 5.6% in 2022 according to the IMF. Inflation also dipped in 2020 by 0.8% but is expected to rise by 1.3% in 2021 and 1% in 2022.

General Information

  • Population 69.8m
  • Population 15 + 58.3m
  • Online Population 48.5m
  • Area 513,120 km2
  • Currency THB
  • GDP 501.9bn USD
  • GDP per Capita 7,190 USD

Payment types

  • Card-based payments
  • Cash-based payments
  • Bank transfer
  • Wallets
  • Other
[{"label":"Card-based payments","value":"17"},{"label":"Cash-based payments","value":"22"},{"label":"Bank transfer","value":"31"},{"label":"Wallets","value":"19"},{"label":"Other","value":"11"}]

Banked population
  • Thailand 82%
  • Asia Pacific 71%
  • World 67%
Credit card penetration
  • Thailand 10%
  • Asia Pacific 13%
  • World 19%
Internet penetration
  • Thailand 70%
  • Asia Pacific 60%
  • World 62%
Smartphone penetration
  • Thailand 54%
  • Asia Pacific 71%
  • World 70%

The E-Commerce Market

Top e-commerce segments 2019 | 2020

  1. Airlines & Hotels: 57% | 30%
  2. Electrical Goods: 11% | 10%
  3. Health & Beauty: 10% | 10%

Cross-border e-commerce

  1. Cross-border proportion of total e-commerce – 13%
  2. Value of cross-border e-commerce ($US billion) – 8.1
  3. % of online shoppers who have shopped cross-border – 30%

Top 3 cross-border shopping origin markets

  1. China: 52%
  2. Japan: 14%
  3. USA: 7%
E-commerce % of total retail
  • Thailand 13%
  • Asia Pacific 23.8%
  • World 20%
E-commerce completed on a mobile device
  • Thailand 60%
  • Asia Pacific 59%
  • World 53%

E-Commerce Trends

  • E-commerce market size ($US billion) 62.0bn USD
  • E-Commerce spending per capita ($US) 879 USD
  • E-commerce spending as % of GDP 11.9%

The Credit Card Split

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Local Schemes
  • other
[{"label":"Visa","value":"68"},{"label":"Mastercard","value":"20"},{"label":"American Express","value":"1"},{"label":"Local Schemes","value":"10"},{"label":"other","value":"1"}]

The information on our Insights pages has been compiled by us in cooperation with Datamatics and Wright & Brown. The data shown is partially owned by us and partially owned by GlobalData. © 2021 by PPRO Financial Ltd. No data and information can be used for any further publication without the explicit approval of PPRO.

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