Social media giant Facebook a major e-commerce source
The TNS Research International (Thailand) market research company conducted a survey of Thai online shoppers in January and discovered a large percentage of respondents used the social media network Facebook as their primary information source for online shopping.
Although TNS only surveyed 1,000 people, the figures are likely to be quite correct given empiric evidence across the country of Thai Facebook usage and connectivity.
According to figures Thailand has around 30 million Facebook users, and around 28 million of these access the social media network via their mobile phones.
As of December last year, round 21 million Facebook users accessed their home page on a daily basis, and 20 million of these did it by way of their mobile phone.
Globally, Facebook claims 1.44 billion users and some 1.25 billion of these access their accounts by way of their mobile phones.
The reach and influence of Facebook in terms of Thai online shopping is huge, with half of the respondents to the TNS survey saying they purchased products they found via Facebook. Equally, 40 percent of them said they then shared their purchasing decisions with others on their Facebook pages.
The TNS survey also found that 70 percent of shoppers do some research online before making purchases, with Facebook, YouTube and search engines all employed in gathering information about products and services of interest to the consumer.
Some 66 percent of the survey’s respondents said they used their smartphones to order products online. They cited the convenience factor as a key driver in their shopping habits as well as the ability to download and use applications which permitted users to make product and price comparisons online.
Of those who used their smartphones for online shopping, Facebook (at 65 percent) was easily the main channel used to research product information. Another 46 percent said they used e-commerce websites while 42 percent said they utilized information available on other social media.
Among the other sources used for determining purchases were email (40 percent), mobile apps (36 percent) and chat apps (18 percent).
As the TNS survey team noted, the impact of social networks (especially Facebook) and mobile phones are having on consumer’s purchases is not only strong at present but is growing almost day by day.
Facebook’s enormous reach and popularity in Thailand has made it the most important tool for online shopping, beginning with the search for information by way of other friends or simply by way of the advertising on the social website itself all the way to the purchase of the product or service and then the resultant feedback.
Two of the most popular Facebook businesses are cosmetics and travel bookings.