Thais top consumers who buy through social media: PWC

5_ Onine2

Consumers in Thailand led their counterparts in 25 countries in buying products online through social media sites, placing them at the vanguard of a global revolution in retailing channels, according to a survey released last week by international consultancy firm PWC.

The results were released in a report entitled They say they want a revolution. Total Retail 2016, in which PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), the London-based professional services network that is the largest of its kind in the world, surveyed over 23,000 online shoppers on six continents about their attitudes and behaviors as online consumers.

“Global consumers are pushing the boundaries of what shopping means,” the report said. The results “point to 2016 as a watershed for many of the trends that have been percolating over the past few years.”

Among those trends were being part of a specialized retail community, making purchases on mobile phones, demanding more service-focused and knowledgeable store employees and becoming more reliant on social media. Thais were among those who ranked customer service relatively high as a factor driving their perception of a retailer as favorable.

“This year also marks the first time in the history of this survey that we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of online shoppers purchasing directly via a social media channel. Sixteen percent of our survey sample said that they purchase products this way, an increase of 9% since the 2014 survey,” the report said.

“In Thailand more than half (51%) of our respondents said they did this. Numbers were also high in India (32%), Malaysia (31%), China (27%), and Middle East (26%),” the report said, putting Thailand at the top of the list in that category.

Consumers in emerging markets were more influenced by social media than in more developed countries, according to the results, and emerging market online consumers are more likely to be influenced by a brand after being exposed to it or having interaction with it on social media.

The results were also influenced by age, with those under 45 more likely to make purchases through or be influence by social media. “Geography and age are huge factors” when it comes to social media, PWC said.

Thailand has taken to social media in a big way, with 30 million active Facebook users each month, out of the country’s population of 68 million people. An estimated 19.8 million Thais log in to Facebook every day, and 18.5 million are active through a mobile device every day.

The Thailand Social Media Landscape, published by the Digital Advertising Association of Thailand, described Thais as “highly engaged” on Facebook, judging from their wall posts, status updates and uploads, which it said are all higher than the global average.