KResearch views that, while the 'New Normal' has helped to stimulate growth for online retail stores, retailers still face ever more fierce competition, especially foreign E-Market place operators, which are expected to be the most affected group and subjected to heightened competition. Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, foreign E-Market places, which primarily revolve around luxury and non-food products such as fashion products, IT equipment, furniture and home décor, have been coping with numerous challenges, such as consumers' weakening purchasing power that is not expected to quickly recover, intensifying competition among non-food products and specialty stores with websites or recognized brands, and competitors who utilize brand credibility alongside promotions and continual service improvements in their struggle for a share of consumers' purchasing power.
In addition, opportunities to penetrate the food product and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) markets have become severely limited, as modern trade retail stores like supermarkets and hypermarkets have all rushed in to promote their goods and capitalize on the available online platforms. Modern trade retail stores are also expected to become more prominent players in the aforementioned product groups on these virtual marketplaces. Hence, business turnover in foreign E-Market places is expected to suffer an ongoing decline of 30-40 percent per year, in contrast to the projected revenue for the period between 2020 and 2022. This could very well be regarded as a continuous loss of 46 percent per year, on average since this group of E-Market place operators invested in and made its presence known among Thai online retail platforms.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is partially responsible for reinvigorating the growth of the online retail market amid the 'New Normal', it has also triggered a decline in consumers' purchasing power, which is not expected to recover anytime soon. Therefore, KResearch stands by its prior projection that the online retail market – Business-to-Customer (B2C) E-Commerce (for products only) – will expand at approximately 8-10 percent, which would reflect a slowdown in comparison to the 20-percent expansion rate of 2019 – or an estimated market value of THB 300-320 billion, which would account for a 7.7-percent share of total retail market value.