THAILAND’S e-commerce market is on track to reach Bt2.8 trillion by the end of this year, a gain of almost 10 per cent from the previous year, according to a government agency monitoring the sector.
In the business-to-consumer (B2C) segment alone, the value of transactions reached US$19.64 billion in 2016, said the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA), which surveyed 592,996 e-commerce entrepreneurs last year.
Surangkana Waupard, executive director of ETDA, said the estimate for 2017 growth in the overall e-commerce market of 9.86 per cent drew on the responses to the survey.
The business-to-business (B2B) segment is forecast to reach Bt1.67 trillion for 2017, accounting for the 59.56 per cent of the entire e-commerce market. That represents growth of growth of 8.63 per cent from 2016.
The B2C segment is to reach Bt812.6 billion for this year, gaining 15.54 per cent from the previous year. It will account for 28.89 per cent of the e-commerce market.
The business-to-government (B2G) segment is expected to be valued at Bt324.7 billion for 2017, growing 3.24 per cent from the prior year. It will take up 11.55 per cent of the e-commerce sector.
Surangkana said retail and wholesale is the top category for e-commerce in the country, with Bt869.6 billion in transactions projected for 2017. This category makes up 34.96 per cent of the value of all transactions.
The hospitality category is expected to booked Bt658.1 billion in transactions this year, accounting for 26.45 per cent of the market. Manufacturing industry is forecast to generate an e-commerce value of Bt417.2 billion, with a 16.77 per cent share.
A key factor driving growth in e-commerce is support from the government sector, with promotions targeting small and medium-sized businesses.
This enables people in remote areas and scattered communities to sell their products online.
Entrepreneurs are using online distribution channels to support their businesses and provide products directly to their customers.
The expansion in e-commerce has been aided by the growth in Internet usage across the country, Surangkana said.
Another factor aiding the sector is that foreign investors have increased their presence in the country, particularly those from mainland China, Taiwan and Japan.
“I think that innovations surrounding the use of the Internet, smartphones and digital sector broadly are important drivers that are support e-commerce growth in the country,” Surangkana said.
“This trend will create more income for people in rural areas and communities nationwide. The government has also revised a law governing e-commerce transactions.
“The revised law will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval next month and it is expected that it will be in force next year.”
She said that retail accounted for around 1 per cent of Thailand's overall retail sales this year. In contrast, the proportion of online retail sales in the Asia-Pacific region is 12.4 per cent. The global average is 8.6 per cent of overall retail sales.