Thailand - Country Commercial Guide
Direct Marketing

Discusses the state of direct marketing and what channels are available for companies to use direct marketing

Last published date: 2019-10-13

Direct marketing is an effective means to share information about products and services with consumers through a variety of media from both traditional and online channels, including online advertisements, email, websites, cell phones, television, catalogs, radio, and newspaper.  As a result of mobile application development and online marketing, the marketers are able to connect and engage with potential consumers effectively.  Online media has played an important role in direct marketing.  Thai people on average spend at least 28 hours per week on a personal computer and over 40 hours per week on mobile phones.  The Thai Direct Selling Association forecasts the direct sales business to expand by 5% annually.  With a sales volume of $2 billion and the number of individual direct sellers totaling 11 million, direct marketing is used widely in the sale of health care products, cosmetics, cleaning and household items, insurance (life and non-life), and electrical appliances.  Major direct marketing companies from the United States include: Amway, Nu Skin, Herbal Life, Unicity Marketing, and Sun Rider International.  Avon decided to exit Thailand’s market at the end of 2016 as part of the company’s global transformation plan.  Despite the success of direct marketing in the Thai market, poor consumer protection laws and enforcement hinder growth potential in the market.  Many problems still need to be solved, such as poor product quality, loss during delivery, refund policies, and protection of intellectual property rights.

Direct marketing and mail order sales have benefited from the use of individual credit cards in Thailand.  Credit cards stretch the buying power of Thai consumers and facilitate retail sales through non-traditional means, such as mail order and electronic commerce. 
Leading the market in this sector are Citibank and American Express.  Most major department stores in Thailand conduct direct marketing via mail-order campaigns through their own networks of discount cardholders.  Installment plan sales of household consumer goods and electrical appliances are gaining popularity among consumers, especially in rural areas.

TV home shopping continues to be popular in Thailand.  More international operators of home shopping, mostly from South Korea, have entered the Thai market in joint ventures with local retail operators.  Product quality is a major concern for most buyers.  Thai consumers tend to order products online for convenience and because the product price is cheap.