Thailand is the second largest B2C e-commerce market in Southeast Asia in terms of sales and is projected to maintain this rank through 2025 due to a strong double-digit growth rate, according to a recent report.
The development of online retailing is spurred by growing internet penetration and projects aimed at improving payment and delivery infrastructure.
The report titled ‘Thailand B2C E-Commerce Market 2017’ published by yStats.com says that Thailand is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, behind Indonesia, and also ranks second in B2C e-commerce sales.
Although online shopper penetration is still in single-digits, a strong B2C e-commerce sales growth rate is expected in the coming years, allowing Thailand to maintain its position as the runner up in regional online retail sales.
Mobile and social commerce are the two most important e-commerce market trends in Thailand. Smartphones have become the gateway to internet connectivity, reaching nearly the same penetration rate as internet and leading among devices utilised to go online.
Thailand is the regional leader in share of online shoppers making purchases via mobile.
M-commerce sales are projected to approach a 50 per cent share of total online spending within the next several years, yStats.com’s report reveals.
Furthermore, social media has emerged as the most important platform for online sellers in Thailand. With more than one-half of online shoppers making orders through social networks, thousands of e-commerce sellers maintain accounts on popular social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Line to transact with their customers.
Lazada, an e-commerce retailer and marketplace controlled by Alibaba Group, is the leading online shopping platform in Thailand, attracting three times more visits to its Thai website than the nearest two competitors combined.
Other players attempt to challenge Lazada’s leadership by increasing investments into their e-commerce operations.
The Central Group acquired online clothing retailer Zalora and planned expansion of omnichannel and logistics capabilities for 2017.
Furthermore, South Korea-based 11street is a fast growing market player: since its launch in Thailand December 2016, the company has already registered thousands of sellers and more than a hundred thousand buyers on its platform by early 2017, according to information cited by yStats.com. (KD)
Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)
What measures has SET taken to support listed companies’ compliance with ESG standards?
PAKORN: When we first began promoting ESG-compliant investments, we were met with little interest. We attributed this to a lack of clear data to showcase the economic benefits of ESG investment, and perhaps limited clarity as to what constitutes a sustainable or ESG-compliant investment. The launch of the THSI list and, subsequently, the SETTHSI Index, was designed to address this. Our most recent data, comparing returns for the SETTHSI Index with the broader SET and SET100 indices from April 2020 to April 2021, underscores the economic benefits of these investments: the group compliant with ESG standards outperformed the other two indices on every data point.
As of May 2021 Thailand was home to CG and ESG assets under management totalling BT54.8bn ($1.7bn) across 50 funds – up from 23 funds in 2019. Meanwhile, of the BT187.1bn ($5.9bn) raised in green, social and sustainability bonds since 2018, BT136.4bn ($4.3bn) was raised in 2020 – 83% from the government and the remainder from development banks and private players. This rising demand, in a move to manage risk and generate returns, has been complemented by growing supply and promotion: supply from ESG-compliant businesses aiming for resiliency and sustainable growth, as well as promotion from regulators highlighting investment opportunities with good CG and SD practices. Indeed, the pandemic has been a catalyst in shifting the view of ESG compliance from a luxury to a requirement in the new normal.
In what ways can enhanced standard-setting and regulatory mechanisms overcome the remaining barriers to improved ESG performance?
PAKORN: A multi-stakeholder approach is crucial for enhanced ESG performance – not only in Thailand, but around much of the globe. This can also help to address the standout incumbent challenge: access to reliable, wide-ranging ESG data. For example, the 2020 update to the 56-1 One Report established clear ESG standards and triggered online and offline capacity-building programmes to support listed firms’ compliance. SET is developing an ESG data platform with a structured template to promote the availability of comparable data, maximise value added from corporate sustainability disclosures, and foster collaboration between the business value chain and stakeholders. This is expected to support Thai companies along their ESG journey in an economically sustainable way, result in a greater number of sustainability-focused products and services, drive sustainable investing in the Thai investment community and ultimately “make the capital market work for everyone”, as outlined in the SET’s vision.
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