SMES expect the Thai economy to expand by 3.79 per cent next year, an academic survey has found. Political and internal economic factors were the key challenges to their business performance.
About 84.2 per cent of respondents said they were not ready to undertake digital transformation.
The Faculty of Economics, Thammasat University conducted a survey of 643 SMEs nation-wide on issues related to their business performance and the country’s overall economic conditions. The survey was conducted December 15-25.
On overall economic performance, respondents expected the national economy to grow by around 3.79 per cent.
They were asked about their performance in 2018 compared to what they expected at the year’s start. Their top three areas of disappointment were: investments lower than expected (52 per cent), liquidity (38 per cent) and revenue (37 per cent).
Better than expected areas of performance were: liquidity (21 per cent), profit (20 per cent), and revenue and employment (19 per cent).
The respondents were asked about their expected performance in 2019 compared to 2018. The three areas where they expected lower performance were: investment (56.0 per cent), liquidity )37.0 per cent) and revenue (33.0 per cent). Areas of anticipated better performance were: revenue (25 per cent), profit (20 per cent) and liquidity (19.0 per cent).
The three most important factors that would affect their business were the post-election political environment, the domestic economy and the world economy. However, such factors as a lack of qualified personnel as well as intense competition were also noted as important factors.
When asked about their business adjustments for 2019, 64.4 per cent said they would increase their online marketing activity; 41.1 per cent would restructure their business to become more technology oriented; 38.2 per cent would explore international market; 32.2 per cent pointed to cost reduction; 25.8 per cent would put more focus on branding; 24.1 per cent would redesigned their business models; 18.7 per cent would launched new products; 18.4 per cent pointed to staff development; 14.5 per cent would use more machinery and automation; 13.6 per cent would develop their packaging and 12.6 per cent did not have any plans.
When asked about the key challenge they faced when trying to implement digital transformation, 84.2 per cent noted the lack of clear targets for the benefit to be gained from digital transformation; 82.1 per cent were unable to choose the right technology to suit their business; and 77.3 per cent were unable to identify the benefits to be enjoyed from such transformation.