COVID-19 & Thai Consumers: The Statistics Revealing Social Commerce Purchasing Behaviour During COVID-19 in Thailand

Most people would agree these days that they can barely remember how their lives were before this all started; going to the supermarket every month to buy groceries or shopping at department stores whenever they fancied. Part of the reason for this is because with the “New Normal” has come new technologies that we can access very easily, which will change the behaviour of consumers long after COVID-19. 

Social Commerce is a term we’ve been hearing for a while. It’s something that all businesses have had to adapt to, which is why you often see businesses that you wouldn’t expect selling their products on Facebook Marketplace, Instagram Shopping and other online channels. 

HILVERSUM, NETHERLANDS – FEBRUARI 06, 2017: Social media are trending and both business as consumer are using it for information sharing and networking. Showing social media icons on smartphone.

What is Social Commerce? 

Before we look at the stats related to COVID-19 and Thai consumers’ shopping habits, let’s take a look at the definition of the term Social Commerce. Its literal meaning is the buying and selling of goods and services on social media platforms like Facebook (Facebook Marketplace), Instagram (IG Shopping), and LINE Official Account (LINE Shop, Chat). This does not include platforms such as Lazada, Shopee, JD Central or other branded websites, since they are considered e-commerce sites. 

Actually, we already started to see the trend for buying and selling on social media platforms before the pandemic, COVID-19 has simply acted as a fast-forward button for this type of commerce. Everything that once seemed to be in the distant future has now become something we do routinely. For example, before this, we might have to queue for some of our favourite restaurants, but now you don’t have to do that yourself since there is a delivery service that will do all that for you, and deliver your order right to your doorstep. Or if you wanted to buy a new computer, previously, you would have gone to the shop to choose the tools and parts that you want and wait for the staff to assemble your product, and then take it back home, but now all you have to do is order it online and within a day, the computer will be delivered to you. If both of these examples don’t show you a clear picture, then let’s take a look at the numbers. 

Image: Instagram

From a study by YouGov on Thai consumer behaviour relating to online channels during COVID-19, it was found that there has been a 56% increase in online purchases via Social Commerce, and 62% of them were satisfied with purchasing via that channel. In March 2021, it was found that 45% of the people who purchased products through Social Commerce spent an average of THB 1,000-3,000 per person, and more than 50% of them were full time workers or students who spent 2-3 hours a day on platforms searching for what they want to buy. 

The most popular platform in Thailand is, of course, none other than Facebook, with 58% of people choosing to shop via the platform too. Second place goes to LINE with 35%, then Instagram at 21%, and Twitter at 11%. On Facebook, the people who shop the most are between the ages of 35-44, accounting for 64% of total users, while Twitter is between 18-24 years old, accounting for 19% of users.

Image: LINE Official Account

You might be wondering what products these people are buying on Social Commerce. The most popular products among female customers are clothes and fashion products, with 62% of users showing an interest, next up are beauty products, supplements, creams etc at 59%. Whereas 25% of male customers are interested in gadgets and 21% in furniture and home decor. 

If you are thinking of starting a business of your own, or if you already own a business and want to expand your reach, Social Commerce is a very interesting channel for you to consider. It certainly won’t damage your brand, and the benefits are that it is free and your customers have easy access to it. The easy purchase system makes it convenient for customers which can help to improve your sales, because doing business nowadays is not just about the quality of your products, your service must be impressive too. Accessibility to a wide group of customers will help to keep your business growing in an ever-changing world, because as you can see from the data, consumer shopping habits can change at any time!