Thailand - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Promotion and Advertising

Includes web links to local trade fair or show authorities and local newspapers, trade publications, radio/TV/cable information.

Last published date: 2019-10-13

Advertising and trade promotion are important marketing tools in Thailand, especially for the sale of consumer goods, communications, and automobiles.  The Thai media and entertainment industry has been transforming itself on a digital platform in order to raise brand awareness and establish customer engagement.  The top ten industry groups that have spent heavily on digital media are motor vehicles, communications, skin care preparations, banks, non-alcoholic beverages, retail shops and stores, dairy and dairy substitute products, insurance, real estate, and hair preparations.  

The Digital Agency Association (Thailand) forecasted advertising spending on digital media will likely reach more than $645 million in 2019, an increase of 16% from last year due to intense competition in digital services.  Digital advertising spending in Thailand continues to grow because of changes in consumer lifestyle, business transformation, and the government’s policy of cashless payment. 

Facebook, YouTube, and Google, with 28%, 17%, and 10% of market share, respectively are expected to remain Thailand’s top three platforms.  Brands are expected to spend more on social media to increase brand awareness and user engagement.  The other online platforms are creative, social media (including Instagram), display, LINE (chat application similar to WhatsApp), and online video.
Advertisers expect to see the highest spending growth in Online Video, as well as Google and LINE in 2019.

In 2018, over 80% of Thai consumers owned smartphones, and this group used the internet on average 10  hours per day, which is 3.41 hours more than the previous  year.  Popular internet activities are social media (93.6%), including  Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, followed by sending email (74.2%), searching information (70.9%), watching TV and  listening to music (60.7%), and purchasing goods and services (51.3%).      Consumer use of traditional media, such as TV, radio, and newspapers, decreased during the same period.

Commercial promotions are an equally important marketing tool for both consumer and industrial products in Thailand.  Consumer trade promotion in Thailand is frequently conducted by using gift premiums, discount coupons, or drawings for items such as package tours, cars, or electrical appliances.  Consumer trade promotion events are frequently held in supermarkets and shopping malls. 
Exhibiting firms repeatedly take part in these events because the cost of attending is much lower than participating in a privately organized trade fair.  The Department of Trade Promotion in Thailand frequently holds industry exhibitions to promote Thai exports to international buyer audiences during “trade days” and increases domestic awareness by staging “public days” at such fairs.

Industrial product promotion, on the other hand, varies from industry to industry.  The two most efficient methods of promotion for industrial products are trade exhibitions and placement of advertisements in social media.  Trade fairs with an industry focus serve as a screening tool since exhibitors can be certain they will have access to the appropriate group of customers.  The Commercial Section at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok maintains a list of suggested industry events staged in Thailand as well as U.S. Pavilions at local events and trade missions (listed in Chapter 9 of this Country Commercial Guide).  This information is also published on the web in English at Commercial Service Thailand and in Thai at BuyUSA-Thailand.  It is advisable to localize all product literature and technical specifications when advertising in trade journals, participating in trade shows, or organizing technical seminars.  Successful firms also arrange for their agents to receive specialized training at offices or factories in the United States.