A KResearch survey earlier this month leads us to believe that Songkran 2014 will not be as happy as it should in Bangkok, given lingering political turbulence that is expected to be further prolonged, slow purchasing power weighed on by living costs and household debt, as well as a shorter holiday than last year.
According to that survey, more Bangkok residents will spend their holiday within the capital this year, either just taking a break or engaging in local activities; fewer people will choose visiting upcountry hometowns. Popular activities during the festival this year will likely include celebrations with families and friends. Last year's top activity – shopping – will be less popular, owing to consumers' ongoing pessimism toward their purchasing power. The public has become concerned as to whether the current situation will impact their incomes and expenses in the future.
KResearch expects that spending over Songkran will be around THB22 billion by Bangkok residents, slumping (-)13.7 percent YoY – the first drop in five years. Of this, THB8 billion will be spent on food and beverages (F&B), THB6.4 billion for shopping (gifts/souvenirs), THB4.6 billion for travel/accommodations, THB2.9 billion for merit-making and THB100 million will spent on other things such as movies, music and water-gun gadgets.
This gloomy outlook projects rather daunting prospects for businesses toward cashing in on this popular festival, particularly the retail sector. Yet, survey respondents in Bangkok stated that marketing campaigns are crucial and will help build consumer buying interest. Similarly, KResearch also believes that marketing activities will be helpful in encouraging more spending in Bangkok during the holiday. Sales promotions would probably be one of the best approaches.