The Thailand Consumer Survey
Understanding multiplicities in consumer behaviour
As Thailand's economy recovers, it is clear that consumer companies seeking to capitalise on new evolving consumer trends will need to understand not only the dynamics of the multiplicities in consumer behaviour, but also how they are likely to converge with one another in the days to come.
Although Thailand is not immune to the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying economic headwinds, it appears poised for an imminent economic recovery in the year ahead, with the reopening of its borders to international travellers underway and several of its other strategic sectors poised for an upturn.
In this edition of the Thailand Consumer Survey, we will explore some of the key changes in consumer behaviour and buying patterns that have emerged from the recent survey conducted by Deloitte Southeast Asia in the fourth quarter of 2021 across 500 households through face-to-face interviews in four major cities: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, and Hat Yai.
We will begin by examining the overall consumer sentiment, including the intention to vary savings levels and expenditure across different product categories. Central to the changes observed is the emergence of several new at-home expenditure patterns on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, which have resulted in a significant propensity to spend on lifestyle products and consumer electronics despite an overall cautious outlook.
Next, we will explore the purchase drivers across different product categories. In line with the consumer’s cautious stance, pricing considerations continue to dominate most purchase decisions. At the same time, while there is also a growing consciousness of environmentally-friendly attributes for certain product categories, this high level of awareness does not necessarily translate into purchases as other factors – including pricing – still hold sway over the decision.
Finally, we will take a look at some of the shifts in the consumer preferences for buying channels. In particular, as a result of social distancing measures, a significant degree of consumption had shifted away from on-trade channels – such as traditional food stalls, coffee shops, and restaurants – to off-trade channels that are more suited for takeaway consumption, including mom and pop stores, convenience stores, supermarkets, and shopping malls.
Overall, we observed three multiplicities: multiple nuances in the consumer sentiment; emergence of multi-brand consumers; and a shift towards multi-channel and omnichannel retail. In this report, we will explore each of these multiplicities in turn, and their corresponding implications for the consumer industry in Thailand.