Talk about Thailand and the first visuals that come to our mind are beautiful, serene beaches, the globally famous Thai cuisine and tourist hotspots. But beyond all this, there is another very interesting, but often lesser known fact about Thailand: the country's budding mobile ecosystem.
Over the past couple of years, mobile phones have seen steady adoption in the country, and today mobile has become the primary means of internet and content access for a major section of the population in the country. Here are 10 interesting facts that will give an insight into Thailand's growing mobile ecosystem:
- According to an eMarketer estimate, Thailand today has over 26 million internet users and the number is projected to cross 29 million in 2017. Almost one-third of the country's population today has access to internet.
- More than half of the country's internet user base accesses internet via mobile. In fact a recent StatCounter report suggests that as of May 2015, internet traffic via mobile has already surpassed that via desktop in Thailand.
- This increase in mobile internet usage can be attributed to the fact that more people in the country are accessing internet and content via smartphones which are seeing strong adoption rates. An eMarketer report pegs the current smartphone population in Thailand at close to 18 million and estimates that this population will hit an estimated 22 million in 2017.
- The time spent by mobile users in Thailand on internet has increased by 20%, from 3.3 hours per day to 3.9 hours per day between 2014 and 2015.
- Thai people spend over three and a half hours per day accessing social media. According to Statista, 28% of Thailand's population has a Facebook account, 18% are on Google+, 15% on Twitter, 14% on Instagram while 11% use popular IM app, Line.
- Mobile entertainment market in Thailand is also on an upswing with an IE Market Research estimate suggesting that market revenues will hit USD 363 million by 2016. Mobile music constitutes almost 58% of the total mobile entertainment market revenue and is estimated to grow to from USD 197 million in 2014 to USD 212 million in 2016.
- At USD 230 million, Thailand also boasted of the highest gaming revenues across the Southeast Asia in 2014. These revenues are estimated to grow at a CAGR of 30.9% to reach an astounding USD 490 million in 2017, putting Thailand among top 20 countries globally, in terms of total gaming revenues. What is interesting to note is that mobile gaming which made up for almost 31% of this gaming revenue is expected to account for more than half of the total gaming revenues by 2017.
- According to a July 2015 survey by Epinion and Omnicom media Group, Thailand has the highest percentage (87%) of smartphone users in Southeast Asia who use their smartphones simultaneously while watching television at least once in a while. These users used their devices mainly to look up information related to the programs or for finding more information on brands or products shown on the television.
- A Nielsen survey on E-commerce in Thailand estimated that in 2014, the total market size of E-commerce in the country was USD 1 billion. However, what was interesting is that the survey also suggested that when it comes to online shopping, 58% of Thai consumers prefer to shop via their mobile devices, way above the then global average of 44%. In the same year, an estimated 51% of mobile internet users across Thailand made an online purchase via their devices.
- According to the latest data by Digital Advertising Association Thailand (DAAT), digital ad spend in Thailand is expected to grow by 62% this year to reach USD 275 million from USD 169 million in the previous year. Mobile ad spends will be grow by 36% this year over the previous year.
For marketers looking to tap into the mobile marketing and commerce potential of Southeast Asia, Thailand would be a good place to start. The rapidly growing mobile internet user population will be looking forward to a lot of internet-based services going mobile-first. Those who use smartphones as a primary medium of content access will spend more time on their devices accessing this content. This presents a big opportunity for app publishers to grow their app business in the country. For anyone looking to tap into the growth of mobile across Southeast Asia the budding mobile ecosystem in Thailand holds a lot of promise.