digital marketing for travelFeatured Living Social Media 

Digital in Southeast Asia & Thailand 2018

Another year, another break down by We Are Social and Hootsuite. An incredibly extensive collection of data and information in regards to the digital usage around the world and, in this regard, Southeast Asia. I’ll try to break it down a bit more in regards to the region and Thailand in particular but all sorts of credit to We Are Social for always coming up with this great collection of data. The break down of the previous year can be found over here: Digital in Southeast Asia & Thailand 2017. 

Global Overview

Before we start with a detailed look onto our region, let’s check what’s happening on a global scale.

What we can see here is that the overall mobile and internet users per se grow but the part of the active social users (mobile and generally) grows even more. Interaction ole.

When we take a look at internet and social media penetration in Southeast Asia we’re not even that far away from other regions across the planet.

The first time we really start to rule the world is when it comes to mobile connectivity. #MobileFirst

mobile connectivity 2018
mobile connectivity 2018

Social Media Platforms in Southeast Asia

It comes as no surprise that, obviously, Facebook is the number one social network and it’s not even close. Youtube making it to number two is also not that much of a surprise, neither are Whatsapp and FB Messenger as runner ups three and four which basically means that Facebook owns 3 out of the 4 top social media platforms. Mark Zuckerberg must be really good at Monopoly.

social media platforms in southeast asia
social media platforms in southeast asia

Top Messenger Apps 2018

messenger use in 2018
messenger use in 2018

It’s kind of interesting to see that a messenger that dominates our world here (and Japan, obviously) doesn’t really make a splash on a global scale – not even other countries in SEA seem to use it and still rely on either FB Messenger or Whatsapp. Kinda ‘cool’ that we’re choosing the FB alternative, even though I’m quite sure that’s not the main reason behind everybody opting for it.

Digital in Thailand

digital thailand
digital thailand

To start our dive down the sea of details we take a look at Thailand as country and it’s recent digital development. What we can see here is that the population grew a bit in comparison to 2017, the penetration however increased by more than 10% – that’s good news! More people with internet connections being able to use digital advancements.

Digital Growth in Thailand

digital growth
digital growth

Case in point here. The digital growth is quite significant in all areas except the mobile users as this rate already has been incredibly high all over the country. Other than that we see more online users, more active social media users and more active mobile users. Engagement all the way!?

Population & Economic Indicators

economic indicators
economic indicators

The break down of the population and its economic indicators also brings quite a few intersting facts to light. Out of the 69 million people living in Thailand, 51% are female, the median age is 38 years of age, more than 50% of people live in urban areas and the literacy is estimated to be at 97%. That’s interesting to know when breaking down further information and thinking about future developments.

Device Usage

device usage
device usage

The first surprising number might be the incredible high rate of mobile phones in the country. 98%! That clearly makes us a mobile first country. Out of those 98% of mobile phones, 71% are smart phones of some kind while only 25% own laptops or computers with 12% owning tablets. TVs then are similarly widespread as mobile phones while streaming isn’t really a thing here as of yet. Same goes for e-readers (kindle, etc.) or wearable tech. #potential!

Time Spent with Media

time spent with media
time spent with media

The time we spend with media here in Thailand is also increasing. We spend around 9.5 hours online in some manner. The 3 hours on social media seem surprisingly low though while the TV viewing is no surprise given that TV screens are everywhere, even in offices.

Attitudes towards digital

attitudes towards digital
attitudes towards digital

Finally we seem to see slight change of attitude within society. While the speed of implementation still lacks behind countries such as South Korea or Japan we slowly get around to understand the importance of new media and digital advancements. I somewhat don’t believe that all of those 75% who say privacy is important actually really care about it but it’s certainly good that awareness also in this area increases. #DigitalDisruptionIncoming (needs a better #)

Internet Use In Thailand

Internet use in thailand
Internet use in thailand

Internet usage is still increasing as Thailand eventually passed the 80% usage rate. Mobile internet users are at 79% right behind indicating, once again, the importance of mobile phones and 3G / 4G connections in the country.

Internet Users: Different Perspectives in Thailand

perspectives on internet use
perspectives on internet use

It’s always interesting to look at different statistic providers and here we can see a huge discrepancy between IWS and all other providers. Which ones are more believable?

Frequency of Internet Use

frequency of internet use
frequency of internet use

No surprise when it comes to frequency. Almost everybody uses the internet every single day. With 0% using it less than once per month again showing that WiFi / Data = Life.

Internet Connections: Speed & Devices in Thailand

connection speed
connection speed

So looking at the average speed….I don’t believe that. That’s probably in theory the case, but in real life that must be lower. I’m not even getting 38 MBPS right now sitting in a cafe with ‘good’ wifi ;-) The fact that most people access the internet via mobile phones again doesn’t surprise. #MobileFirst

Share of Web Traffic by device in Thailand

share of web traffic by device
share of web traffic by device

When we look into more detail in regards to web traffic we can see that laptop traffic decreases a bit while table traffic decreases significantly with mobile traffic increasing a tiny bit. That’s rather interesting in regards to the tablets – seems like they’re slowly dying out here.

Top Website Ranking in Thailand

A look at the top 10 websites in Thailand according to similar web shouldn’t really shock anyone with global players taking the top spots. The first Thai website also doesn’t surprise with Pantip.com leading Sanook.com right in front of our number one messaging app. LINE. The only that surprised me a bit is goal.in.th which even tops shopping portal Lazada to claim the #9 spot. Shows how ‘important’ football (soccer, for the Americans) is over here. Alex shows a bit of a different ranking with the global players also being in the top spots while then having more of the Thai fun/social sites as runners ups.

Weekly Online Activities By Device in Thailand

online activities by device
online activities by device

What are people in Thailand doing on a weekly basis? They social network and watch videos! Education isn’t even an option here. #sad :P

Top Google Search Queries in 2017 in Thailand

google search queries 2018
google search queries 2018

Just look at what Thai people were searching for in 2017. Pretty self explanatory I believe.

Frequency of Watching online Video in Thailand

frequency of watching videos online
frequency of watching videos online

More than 50% of users watch online videos every single day highlighting the importance of online videos for entertainment, marketing, awareness, etc. campaigns. If you’re not playing the video game, you might get left behind. #MoveB$%^

How Internet Users Watch Television in Thailand

internet users watch television
internet users watch television

That’s a bit surprising for me as I personally barely watch TV on a TV but 96% of online users still own a ‘normal’ TV and continue watching their shows the ‘regular’ way while only 5% use on-demand services. Streaming however does increase (the legal one, of course) and with Netflix now starting to really push its ads here all over the place this is probably going to increase even more as we speak.

Social Media Use in Thailand

social media use in thailand
social media use in thailand

When #MobileFirst meets #WeAreSocial (literally!). We got 51 million social media users online, which is insane when looking at our population of 67 million. This leads to 74% of all people being on social media – not online, on social media! Of those 51 million, 46 million access social media via mobile devices! As I said before #MobileFirst x #WeAreSocial. 

Most Active Social Media Platforms in Thailand

most active social media platforms
most active social media platforms

No surprise here with Facebook taking the top spot in front of Youtube. Then we see the first ‘typical’ Thai platform with LINE (which is actually from Japan / Naver) followed by FB Messenger and Instagram. So besides LINE in the Top 3 the rest is pretty standard compared to the global numbers. Nice to see linkedin also being in there eventually. It’s time Thais start to use the internet also for business purposes and not only to watch videos and start drama on facebook.

Facebook Usage Analysis

facebook usage analysis
facebook usage analysis

Facebook being number deserves some special attention. Here we go. Even though ‘everybody’ seems to be on Facebook it still saw an 11% increase in users compared to last year. Will it ever stop growing? 90% of those users come via mobile access (now let’s say it all together: #mobilefirst). The male-female ratio is almost equal with 51% to 49%.

Profiles of Facebook Users in Thailand

facebook users profiles
facebook users profiles

Male and female profiles on Facebook are basically equally distributed here in Thailand which is interesting when looking at the population statistics.

Average Facebook Page Post Reach in Thailand

average facebook page post reach
average facebook page post reach

As everybody is using Facebook to reach an audience here those stats above are something to look at as well. The average monthly change in page likes is super low (+0,09%) and the average reach vs likes with 10% also nothing to be too excited about. The organic reach stagnates at around 4% which is probably why 22% of pages use paid media in order to boost their posts. The average paid reach then reaches around 36% vs. the total reach. In short: If you don’t boost, you don’t reach. That’s, unfortunately, everywhere the case now. Thx, Mark. #thxmark

Average Facebook Engagement Rates in Thailand

facebook engagement
facebook engagement

Engagement Rate. That stat that every social media manager so desperately tries to increase. How ‘high’ is the engagement on FB in Thailand? As in most other countries, it also pretty much sucks here. On average it’s about 7% while video posts perform better than other types of media (9% ER). Photo posts already pretty much are considered normal and don’t get that much engagement anymore (4%) while link posts still get around 7% and status posts hover at around 5%. #TimeToDivorce?

Instagram Usage Analysis

instagram usage stats
instagram usage stats

Living in the country that’s always on the top lists of ‘most instagramed’ places we certainly also need to take a deeper look at everybody’s favorite stalker medium. There are ‘only’ 13 million active users / month on IG. Feels way more tbh, right? So only 20% of Thais are using IG, I could have sworn it was 120%. When looking at classical gender classifications we see a 60:40 ratio in favor of female users.

Mobile Users vs. Mobile Connections

mobile users vs mobile connection
mobile users vs mobile connection

Now this stat seems a bit ‘nerdy’ but it’s definitely an interesting one. Just look at the mobile connections as a percentage of total population. 135% and the average connections per mobile user being more than 1. Read this again and visualize that. And then say it with me #MobileFirst.

Mobile Connections By Type in Thailand

mobile connections by type
mobile connections by type

According to the stats above most mobile connections are still prepaid (80%) with only 20% being post-paid. Almost all mobile connections are broadband by now – even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes.

Mobile Connectivity Index in Thailand

mobile connectivity index
mobile connectivity index

The GSMA assessment of the country’s key enablers shows that we hover in all significant factors at around 60% – 70% which shows that we’re in the upper third of the countries being assessed. The consumer readiness is rated even higher, thx to the importance and availability of mobile devices.

Mobile Activities in Thailand

mobile activities
mobile activities

More than two thirds of people use mobile devices for messaging. Similarly many people watch videos on their devices. Almost 2/3 play games, which is quite a lot in my personal opinion. Maps are also quite common and even mobile banking increases by now – another interesting fact, especially when looking at e-commerce possibilities here in Thailand.

Smartphone Life Management Activities

smartphone life management activities
smartphone life management activities

That’s a nice break-down of the most used tasks on smartphones in Thailand. The good old alarm function is still one of the most used apps – why isn’t there anything else / cooler being developed in this area? Pics are obviously still the most completed task. Follow ups are managing appointments, checking the news, reading stuff, checking the weather, managing tasks and tracking health. Nothing really weird or unexpected I’d say.

Top App Rankings in Thailand

top app rankings in thailand
top app rankings in thailand

In terms of active users Line has to be number one, obviously followed by the Facebook trifecta. Then on #5 we got a mobile banking app? Wow! Who would have thought that? Then Joox is a music app similar to spotify which simply has been around Southeast Asia for longer (and is owned by Tencent, the company behind WeChat). Lazada then is the first shopping app on the list.

When looking only at downloads Facebook is on top followed by Line and Joox so there’s not much difference. A few apps sneaked in there though with picture app Camera360 being the top one on #5.

Financial Inclusion Factors

financial inclusion factors
financial inclusion factors

As we’ve seen that the use of banking apps becomes more common it’s still weird to see that only 6% of the users own a credit card. Also online bill payment is still at only 4%. Moreover 6% of female users make online payments while only 3% of male users do the same. That is….interesting.

E-Commerce Activities in past 30 Days

ecommerce activities in past 30 days
ecommerce activities in past 30 days

Lots of people seem to use their connection to search for products online but not all of them also make the purchase (RoPo – Research Online Purchase Offline). Still good to see that those numbers are increasing and now already up to 60% – 70%. The potential is slowly being used.

E-Commerce Spend by Category

Ecommerce Spend by category
Ecommerce Spend by category

Where do we spend our money? Electronics and physical media as well as travel are far ahead of the rest. The best of the rest then are toys / hobbies (rather broad category imo) and fashion & beauty. Digital music is the last on this list but also growing and hence an interesting sector to follow in my opinion.

E-Commerce Growth by category in Thailand

Ecommerce growth by category
Ecommerce growth by category

As mentioned above even music in the last place is still growing, not as fast as other sectors though. Especially the fashion sector sees quite a big increase and it’s no wonder that lots of money is being spend there right now.

E-Commerce Detail: Consumer Goods in Thailand

ecommerce details consumer goods
ecommerce details consumer goods

The stats here show that we still see an increase in each sector – not that surprising but glad to see that confirmed. It’s obvious that there’s lots of potential and money to be made in the online sector so we can only hope that the ‘right’ players see those stats and will push new developments forward rather than just focusing on buzzword bingo (#Thailand4.0).

Advertising Media: First Awareness

advertising media: first awareness
advertising media: first awareness

Which channels introduced users first to a product that they then purchased. TV is still the top – which is crazy again from my geek point of view and I hate to having to argue with that when talking to colleagues or clients ;-) Online now follows up quickly though and I’m glad that direct mail slowly dies out.

Overall we still see growth in basically all sectors when comparing it to the previous year which keeps showing the potential we have here in the digital scene in Thailand. Looking forward to an exciting digital year ahead and hoping to see lots of development and disruption.

Sascha Funk

Founder / Editor at My-Thai.org
Sascha is the publisher of my-thai.org and switched from an online marketing agency life in Europe to a teaching and education life in Thailand. He also writes about Teaching & Technology.

Related posts