THAILAND - Thais are spending more time online and amid boom times in social media, fewer than 10 per cent of social-media users shop online.
Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, president of the Thai E-Commerce Association, confirmed the 10-per-cent figure of 19 million Facebook users in Thailand.
Surangkana Wayuparb, director of the Electronics Transaction Development Agency (Public Organisation), said the social commerce tends to grow further.
The biggest social-commerce medium in Thailand is Facebook. As of June 15, there were 19 million Facebook users in Thailand. Apart from Facebook, Instagram and LINE are the top sites for social commerce in Thailand.
The agency's annual "Thailand Internet User Profile" survey covering 23,907 participants, showed that almost all used social media and almost half of those who did (49.7 per cent) had purchased items via those platforms, defined as social commerce. Conducted by the ETDA in April and May, the survey also found that more women conduct social commerce than men. The top three goods purchased via social media were clothes, shoes or bags; information-technology gadgets, computers or mobile phones; and cosmetics. Men bought IT gadgets more than women. The most popular price ranges for purchases on social media were Bt501-Bt1,000 (S$20.45-S$40.82) (40.7 per cent) and Bt1,001-Bt5,000 (S$40.86-S$204.10) (33.7 per cent).
The reasons people buy products via social media are convenience, good promotions, trust of the seller, crowd purchase, and recommendations by friends, the survey showed.
Top three social-media services in Thailand are Facebook (92.2 per cent), Google Plus (63.7 per cent) and LINE (67.1 per cent). Most people access social media via smart phones, while most access the Internet via desktop computers.
While social commerce is increasing, mobile commerce is too. At commerce website Dealfish.co.th, 37 per cent now access it from mobile devices, up from 10 per cent last year, while at Sanook.com, the figure is around 20 per cent. At Tarad.com, 30 per cent of visitors come from mobile, while 11 per cent of transactions are made via mobile devices.
The survey also showed that Thais spent 32 hours per week on average online, compared with 18 in 2001. The average surfing period for Internet users in Bangkok is longer at 34.2 hours a week. On average men spend more time online than women, 35.1 hours against 29.7 hours per week.