The big new trends for smartphones and commerce

national February 13, 2016 01:00

By ASINA PORNWASIN
THE NATION

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NEW GENERATION Thais have now lived much of their life on digital platforms in the face of the four big trends, as noted by Line, the influential chat platform in Thailand.



These four big trends are: 
‘mobile first’ or the soaring rate of mobile Internet use; 
smartphones becoming the main viewing screen; 
m-commerce (transactions done via mobile phones) and social commerce; 
O2O or online-to-offline services. 
Ariya Banomyong, managing director of Line Thailand, said that this year, these four trends would play a crucial role in Thailand’s digital landscape. 
Firstly, while Thailand has been a “mobile-first” country for the past two years already, with 40 million people accessing the Internet on their smartphones. This year, the firm estimates the number of mobile Internet users will to soar to 50 million, thanks to the launch of 4G in Thailand. At present, Thais spend about 5.7 hours a day on their smartphones.
The firm claims that each day, Thais spend 83 minutes on Line chats, and that currently there are 33 million users in Thailand. 
Secondly, smartphones are becoming the main TV screen as 41 per cent of TV/video content is watched on televisions, while smartphones alone represent 31 per cent. 
Line’s predictions are similar to Ericsson’s forecasts for this year. According to Ericsson’s Consumer Insight Summary Report on ‘10 Hot Consumer Trends 2016’, the Internet is changing and new generations are growing up with their own behaviour. One of the more significant changes is the huge amount of video content online. It said that today, around 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, ten times the amount uploaded to YouTube every minute in 2011.
Today’s teens are now streaming natives. In fact, 46 per cent of them spend an hour or more on YouTube every day. Streaming natives also watch video on different platforms, spending around 59 per cent of their total viewing time on mobile screens, which is considerably more than other age groups.
The third interesting trend surrounds m-commerce and social commerce. Regular buyers in e-commerce have started wading into the newer arenas of m-commerce and social commerce already. About 60 per cent of total online transactions are now conducted via mobile devices. 
It is predicted that mobile banking will grow by 33 per cent this year too. Thailand has already entered the era of m-commerce & social commerce.
Fourthly, online-to-offline or O2O services look set to be a new trend this year. This is about leveraging online media to spur traffic and/or sales offline. O2O services match with consumers’ changing behaviour. 
Nowadays, there are millions of applications for consumers to download from application stores. However, consumers have an average of 39 apps installed on their smartphones, but only use 17 of them. 
It is believed that the concept of “Apps within an App” will solve that issue. 
For a chat app, the Ericsson report said the ‘emergency chat’ is a big new trend. Today, more people communicate using text than calling on the phone. Many are also used to instantly share photos and videos via social networks. 
The study mentions that 65 per cent of smartphone owners are interested in an emergency app, which would alert them in a crisis or disaster, and provide verified, rumour-free information.

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