Thai Consumers – Traditional Yet So Open to Technology

travelindex-hotels-travel-directory-1922Bangkok (Thailand) – July 1, 2015 – GfK reveals that Thai people are Still traditionalists but embracing urbanization and innovation. With changes in lifestyle and rapid adoption of new technologies. GfK recommends businesses to use “globathaization”, “share of life”, and multi-platform marketing and communication strategies for business success.

Urbanization is rapidly changing the face of the consumer and by 2050, it is estimated that 75% off the world population will be living in urban areas. This results in an emerging middle class and an explosion in Asia in particular. According to the ‘Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the number of middle class people will grow from 1.8 billion people to 4.9 billion in 2030. The global regional distribution of the middle class will have Asia accounting for a whopping 66% of this middle class. Based on the latest results of several GfK Consumer Studies, Daranee Charoen-Rajapark, Chairman of the Advisory Board of GfK Thailand recently revealed three areas in which there are changes in consumer behavior and how companies should address the changes and capture the opportunities.

The first area of change is in values. Based on GfK extensive values analysis, seven globally relevant value types have been identified: Achievers, Traditionalists, Nurturers, Social Rationals, Survivors, Self-Directeds and Hedonists. There are marked differences between the global and Asia Pacific urban markets whereby 31% and 16% are classified as Achievers and Traditionalists respectively in the global market, compared to a higher 41% and 22% in Asia Pacific.

Achievers, the dominant type in Asia, place high importance on attaining and exhibiting social status and may put their own interests ahead of others. Traditionalists on the other hand believe their inherited way of life is the best, are governed by religious beliefs/cultural traditions and follow prescribed rules and norms for most things. In Asia Pacific, India and China; have the highest percentage of Achievers at 67% and 40% respectively whereas Thailand registers up to 30%. While the vast majority of the countries in Asia have the highest percentage of Achievers, Thailand rocks’ the trend with a very high 44% being Traditionalists. In general traditionalist values tend to resist change and have high brand loyalty but innovation may not be high which may be one of the reasons for Thailand’s low level of innovations.

The second area of change is in lifestyle where work now consumes such a big part of the lives of the Asian middle class and it is in Thailand that people register the highest number of working hours among those working full time at nearly 51 hours per week compared to the global average of 36.3 hours per week. lndia is the only other country in Asia that registers high number at 50.6 hours whereas for China and Indonesia, the average number of working hours is lower at 45.3 each and even lower for me Japanese at 37.3 hours. With a growing urban middle class faced with lifestyle changes and urbanization issues such as environmental pollution and quality, there are still good opportunities for food, entertainment, health and safety related products;and products that promote convenience, pleasure and peace of mind. With less time to spare and higher concern for safety, buying well-known brands that are trusted becomes even more important for a high 75% of the Thai consumers.

Although the Thai people have the traditional mindset, the paradox is that Thailand is tipped as one of the top 10 growth markets for technology in 2015. The third area of change is in technology in which the most changes are seen in Thailand consumer behavior. Based on a GfK Thailand nationwide survey of 989 consumers aged 11-70 years old in Thailand households in May 2015, 70%°have their own smartphone, 23% a regular mobile phone, 18% a tablet, 17% a personal desktop computer, 13% a personal laptop computer and 12% an office desktop computer. Among those that access the internet, a total of 77% access the internet through their smartphone, 53% at home, 33% at school/university/office and 24% from a wi-fi hotspot. The growth of tech devices in APAC countries has been driven by the low priced smartphones at the expense of other products such as compact camera, portable media player and portable car navigation. Since 2010, the growth of smartphone in Thailand has been astronomical at 816% with total market value of USD 3,156,736,864 whereby the growth of personal computer was only 20% with total market value of USD 694,577,299 As for the relatively new media tablets, its market value is growing rapidly now reaching USD 378,330,980 just slightly less than the smart TV market value at USD 407,968,511.
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With the high growth of smartphone, tablets and digital, Thai middle class consumers have a mobile lifestyle and value high connectivity. Key activities on the internet are now social networking at 58%, watching clips/uploaded programs at 43%, email at 38%, watching TV and chatting at 22% each, and reading nevvspapers/magazines online at 21%. Meanwhile a high 15% now search for travel information and 11% buy products online. Watching TV on the internet is especially high at 28% with young audiences 11-19 years old. And among smartphone, computer and tablet owners specifically 25%, 30% and a high 37% respectively will watch TV/programs on their devices. At the end however, 61% of the consumers still say watching television is the most attractive, memorable and trusted media and about half still believe that television is the media of the future thus confirming that TV is still the most powerfull media platform.

In light of these changes nin consumer behavior, Daranee recommends companies strategies must now include “globalthaization” which gains from the strengths of globalization but takes into account the deep rooted beliefs, traditions and culture of the Thai people; capturing “share of life” rather than share of wallet by playing a meaningful role and improving consumers quality of life; and multi-platform marketing, communications and integration with mobile strategy taking center stage. And building from the traditional technology products, GfK forecasts that businesses that venture into connected value (convergence of technology, connected devices and need for mobility),such as wearables, health and fitness devices, and the smart home are key growth areas.

About GfK:
GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their competitive edge and enrich consumers’ experiences and choices.

Contact information:
GfK Thailand
1126/2 Vanit Building II, 24th Floor
New Petchaburi Road, Makkasan
Bangkok 10400
Tel. +66 2255 8515
Web: www.gfk.com

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