Thailand flag Thailand: Buying and Selling

Advertising and marketing in Thailand

Marketing opportunities

Consumer Profile
Thailand has a population of 69.8 million people, out of which 51.3% are women. The median age in Thailand is 40.1 years in 2020, with 70.8% of people aged between 15 and 64, 12.4% over 65, and 16.8% under 14 years old. There is a strong emphasis on familial connections in Thailand, and often several generations will live under the same roof. However, the average size of household was 3.1 persons per household and only 9% of households consist of six people or more, while 18% of them are one-person households, 45% of houses have two or three people, and 28% have four or five inhabitants. 51.1 % of the population is urban. The main cities are Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Mueang Nonthaburi and Udon Thani. Unequal education quality is a big challenge, with poorer areas being under-served. Still, Thailand has an adult literacy rate of 93%, with 99% of the population having completed primary education. However, only 85% complete lower secondary education. Additionally, at the end of lower secondary education, only 50% have a minimum proficiency level in reading and only 46% in mathematics. The level of education of the majority of the population is incomplete secondary education (60%). Nonetheless, Thailand has successfully addressed much of its problem of low access to education that existed before the 1990s by increasing education enrolment rates at almost every education level. Indeed, the tertiary enrolment rate in Thailand is now among the highest in ASEAN.
Purchasing Power

GDP per capita PPP has reached USD 19,228 (latest World Bank data). Average wages in Bangkok are high compared to other areas of Thailand. The average monthly income per household in Thailand was highest in the Bangkok , which amounted to almost 40 000 Thai baht in 2019. While the overall country average is around 26 000 Thai baht. According to the Bank of Thailand, the private consumption index was 118 in May 2020, a downward trend due to the COVID-19 crisis. Even though poverty has also declined substantially, income inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient (36.4%), declined less so in recent years. Thailand has the greatest wealth gap in the world. According to the Bank of Thailand’s research institute, the Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research, approximately 36 percent of Thailand’s corporate equity is held by just 500 people compared to the country’s current population. The institute’s report states that each of these 500 individuals amass some 3.1 billion baht (US$102 million) per year in company profits. This is compared to the average yearly household income of around US$10,000.

Though women earn a majority of the higher education degrees in Thailand, women also make less money and represent the majority of the country’s employees in the informal sector. On average, women make just 77% of the average male salary when performing the same work. Men in disproportionate amounts also fill positions of leadership – particularly in business –, and only 6% of members of parliament are women.

Consumer Behaviour
Rising incomes in the country are generating optimism in the population, and are increasing consumer demand for a wide variety of products. With the increase in incomes, consumers - particularly wealthier ones - have been spending more on experiences, such as eating out, and travelling. The luxury market has also been growing in the country. Price, quality and availability of service are the key selling factors in Thailand. However, consumers are willing to pay more for they favourite brands, and they rarely switch brands - even if the prices are better. Thai consumers are the most brand-conscious and brand-loyal in Southeast Asia. They also spend more than their neighbours, which is reflected in their higher debt levels. Moreover, consumers tend to indulge and make impulse purchases, instead of saving their money - which is typically seen in other Southeast Asian countries. E-commerce is growing fast, especially informal commerce - such as social media accounts that are makeshift shops. Revenue in the eCommerce market is projected to reach US$7,288m in 2020.

When it comes to luxury purchases though, consumers prefer to buy in person rather than on-line, as they say it is impossible for them to make any purchasing decision without seeing the product in person. While advertising is effective, word of mouth recommendations have a big impact on a brand's reputation, which consequently, can boost sales. Consumers also expect high quality customer support and after sales service, both of which are taken into account when deciding whether to make a purchase.

The younger generations tend to be interested in a healthy lifestyle, so they spend a lot on healthier food options and supplement products. Influenced by social media, they are also very appearance conscious, so they also spend their disposable income on the latest trends, gyms, cosmetic procedures, and plastic surgery. With a new economic strategy in 2018, the government of Thailand has decided to open country's market to collaborative platforms such as Airbnb and GrabTaxi.

Looking at the Asia Development Bank's (ADB) September forecast for the Thai economy, which is recovering from COVID-19, the situation for Thai consumers will be more complicated. According to Mintel’s Global Consumer research in July, Thais are much more concerned about the financial impact of COVID-19 on them and their families (63%), the economic impact on their community (56%) or life not being the same as it was before the pandemic (45%), than they are about their family getting sick (29%) or sick themselves (27%). Mintel research highlights that 90% of Thais chose convenience as a key driver, more than budget.
Consumers Associations
Office of the Consumer Protection Board of Thailand
Main Advertising Agencies
Advertising Association of Thailand
Thai Advertising Agency Directory

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Latest Update: June 2022

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