Thailand’s Retail Sector Enjoys Strong Performance
A growth in the number of visitors travelling from China to Thailand has had an extremely positive effect on the country’s retail sector, according to a report in The Bangkok Post. Vendors offering uniquely Thai and high value products have particularly noticed an increase in customers from China.
Two factors have contributed significantly to the success streak. One is the growing number of overseas visitor arrivals and the other is the relative value of the Thai Baht when purchased by people from other Asian countries. This often means that shopping is more affordable for visitors whilst they’re on holiday.
Thailand has long been known as a global shopping hotspot, with destinations like Bangkok, Phuket and Samui all offering a diverse array of retail experiences and products. For travellers in search of designer shopping malls, Bangkok is a favourite choice with stylish options like EmQuartier offering the latest in lifestyle concepts. The malls are home to a plethora of designer brands, in addition to restaurants, events halls and cafes.
In Phuket, Central Festival on the edge of Phuket Town is one of the most popular spots for retail therapy, offering everything from traditional Thai silks to cutting edge hi tech gadgets. A Central Festival complex in Koh Samui opened in 2014, and offers a spectacular themed retail destination for visitors. Each of the sections draws its inspiration from the tropical island’s history, with zones representing the port, Chinese heritage, local fishing communities and a beach town market.
Of all international visitors travelling to Thailand, the Chinese comprise the largest group, accounting for around 30 percent of all overseas visitors each year. According to figures published by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, (TAT), Chinese visitors allocate a hefty 41 percent of their holiday budgets to shopping and 40 percent to food. The rest is spent on transportation, entertainment, tour guide fees and accommodation.
Buying souvenirs for friends and family back home is an important Chinese tradition, and one that makes a significant contribution to the shopping budgets of visitors. Mid-range fashion brands have become increasingly popular amongst this sector, particularly Thai fashion brands. Some brands, such as Thai retailer Naraya, have become especially popular thanks to the emphasis on the products being handmade. Thai cosmetics and beauty products also sell well and luxury goods are considered a bargain when compared to their equivalent prices in locations like Singapore, Hong Kong and Beijing.