• Jeff Rajeck

Online Shopping in 2020 GenZs vs. Millennials: Focus on Thailand

Thailand is firmly in the middle of its Southeast Asia (SEA) neighbours in many regards.

Its population (70m) is greater than Malaysia and Singapore, but smaller than Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia. The country is wealthier than its larger neighbours by most measures, but not quite as rich as its southern neighbours, Malaysia and Singapore.

So how does Thailand rank for online shopping? Will the country become a SEA digital leader, or will it remain 'in the middle' of its digitally-challenged neighbours and the more advanced regional digital economies?


To find out, ClickInsights, in partnership with Adobe, recently surveyed consumers across Southeast Asia to learn about the current state of online shopping in the region. Responses were divided into two groups: those aged 16 to 22, also known as Generation Z or 'GenZ', and those aged 23 to 37, the 'Millennials'.

Below are summary results from respondents from Thailand, representing both generations, which provide insights into the digital behaviour of the country's next generations.

To see results from the other Southeast Asian countries and comparative analysis, please download the full report here: Southeast Asia Online Shopping in 2020: GenZs vs. Millennials.

1) Thai GenZs are as likely as Millennials to make frequent digital purchases.

In every other SEA country, Millennials are more likely than GenZs to buy online on a regular basis. In Thailand, however, the younger make online purchases at nearly the same frequency as the older.

Twenty-one per cent of Thai GenZs buy online every week, compared with a quarter (25%) of Millenials. And more than 3 in 4 (76%) GenZs buy at least a couple of times a month, nearly the same as the older cohort (79%).


It's unclear why Thailand differs from its neighbours in this regard, but it is an indicator that the next generation of consumers (GenZ) has already acquired the digital habits of the Millennials. Marketers should, therefore, ensure that their brand is equally accessible to younger consumers online as it is to older.

2) Facebook is the social media platform of choice in Thailand

When asked which social media platforms they prefer, Thai respondents, of both generations, told us loud and clear: Facebook.

Nearly 3 in 4 (74%) GenZs and more than 4 in 5 (84%) Millennials said that they spend at least 30 minutes every day on the platform, more than any other.


Instagram is not without its fans in Thailand, though. Nearly half of all respondents (50% Zs, 48% Ms) also spend 30 minutes per day on the visually-oriented social network.

Interestingly, Thai consumers are also the most likely in SEA to spend significant amounts of time on one of Facebook's rivals, TikTok. Around 1 in 4 (24% Zs, 25%Ms) Thais spend 30 minutes every day on the short-form video sharing platform.

Thais, it seems, are big fans of social media and marketers should consider this as one of the main platforms through which to reach the younger generations in the country.

3) Thai GenZs are worried about fit, Millennials fakes

While the two generations agree about social media platforms, their concerns about ecommerce vary significantly.

Regarding product quality, Thai GenZs are more concerned than Millennials about how well items they see online fit when they receive them. More than half (47%) of GenZs listed 'fit' as a primary concern when shopping online as opposed to just over 2 in 5 (41%) Millennials.


Millennials, on the other hand, are more worried about fake goods. More than half (55%) of the older generation listed 'fakes' as a primary concern when using ecommerce, as opposed to just over 1 in 3 (36%) GenZs.

Marketers should take note of these differences and address the concerns in advance to ensure that they are sending the right messages to the right generation. Stress your return policy to GenZs and reassure Millennials that if they buy directly from the brand that they will always receive the genuine article.

4) GenZs in Thailand consider reviews before buying, Millennials want good customer service

Besides concerns, the two younger generations in Thailand also differ in the criteria they use when deciding whether to buy online from a brand.

GenZs in Thailand are more concerned about positive user reviews, with 3 in 4 (75%) listing them as one of the most important things to consider when selecting a platform to buy from, compared with 2 in 3 (66%) Millennials.


Millennials in the country, however, look at the after-purchase care with 3 in 5 (60%) stating that easily accessible customer care is a primary concern, with just around 2 in 5 (43%) of GenZs saying the same.

5) Thais care about payment methods offered - and marketers should, too

The generations do agree, though, on one thing which marketers should take note of.

The biggest consideration for both generations when they are considering where to buy are the payment methods available. Over 4 in 5 (87% Zs, 86% Ms) listed this as a primary consideration.


While this may seem unusual, the reason for this choice becomes clear when the country's preferred payment methods are considered.

Fewer than 1 in 3 (32%) of GenZs and less than half (49%) of Millennials use credit cards when making an online purchase. Instead, most either use online bank transfers (66% Zs, 67% Ms) or cash on delivery (62% Zs, 59% Ms).

Alternative payment methods, such as e-wallets, are starting to gain traction, but marketers should be aware that their site or preferred venue must support one of Thais preferred payment methods to be included in many younger consumers' consideration set.

6) Both GenZs and Millennials are optimistic about the future of ecommerce in Thailand

So, back to our original question - will Thailand be a digital leader in SEA?

According to the younger generations, the answer is a clear 'yes'.

When asked whether they will spend more in 2020 than they did in 2019, 7 in 10 (70%) GenZs and 3 in 4 (75%) Millennials said that they would.


These positive responses are indicators that the online economy in Thailand will be growing in 2020 and, indeed, beyond.

To learn much more about the generational differences in online shopping behaviour across Southeast Asia, please download the full report here: Southeast Asia Online Shopping in 2020: GenZs vs. Millennials.


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