E-commerce growth slowed

Thailand recorded its weakest ever e-commerce growth in the third and fourth quarters of 2021, attributed to lukewarm consumption and the reopening of physical stores, says SET-listed Kerry Express Thailand, a major service provider parcel delivery.

“Over the past two quarters, Thailand and Southeast Asia have seen the slowest e-commerce growth in history,” said Alex Ng, managing director of Kerry Express Thailand. Bangkok Post.

“The reopening of physical retail stores and malls has resulted in very low online consumption, despite the fourth quarter being a traditional peak season.”

People are likely to spend more money traveling during the holiday season than shopping online, he said.

As the Omicron variant rages on, it remains uncertain whether online shopping will resume strong growth, Ng said.

“We are sure people’s purchasing power is lower due to higher household debt as well as soaring fuel and commodity prices,” he said.

Thanawat Malabuppha, managing director of shopping search engine Priceza and president of the Thai E-Commerce Association, said the country’s e-commerce growth in 2022 is expected to be lower than last year due to a decline in purchasing power, inflation and an increase in utility costs.

E-commerce has grown considerably over the past two years.

Growth of 30% could be expected in 2022, he said, compared to 75% in 2021 and 140% in 2020, when the country faced lockdown.

Vincent Yang, managing director of e-commerce player JD Central, remains optimistic about the country’s e-commerce prospects, despite an economic downturn and declining purchasing power.

He said the sector still had room to grow as online retail represented a marginal share of total retail value.

Yang said JD Central always sees high traffic, basket size and transactions because customers on its platform have high buying power.

The average basket size for JD Central doubled the e-commerce industry average, he said.

E-commerce player Lazada said consumers in Asean have become more careful with their spending, but are more accustomed to shopping online.

Lazada Group continues to grow, successfully capturing the digital shift in consumer behavior and enabling merchants to thrive on the platform, the company said.

In the 12 months ending September 30, 2021, Lazada’s regional sales were US$21 billion, with the number of annual active consumers growing 80% year-on-year to 130 million.

The number of monthly active sellers and monthly active sales products more than doubled to 922,000 and 33 million, respectively.

Lazada said it is supporting buyers and sellers by investing in technology and logistics across the region.

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