While the Thai government relaxed its COVID-19-related measures in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area on February 1, 2021, and has announced a special holiday in February ( a three-day weekend), the COVID-19 situation has yet to be brought fully under control. Consumers' purchasing power has long been affected by the pandemic and continues to be low as in the preceding year. Hence, spending during the 2021 Chinese New Year is expected to remain subdued, with consumers likely to be more sparing in their purchases when compared to the past few years. Based on KResearch's findings, Bangkok residents plan to reduce spending in all activities, with certain activities like travel/merit making or giving cash gifts to be cancelled for this year.
KResearch projects that Bangkokians' spending during the 2021 Chinese New Year will likely amount to THB 11.7 billion, or a contraction of 10.4 percent (in the range of 8-12 percent) compared to the year before, when the impact of the pandemic had yet to be fully felt. The spending can be broken down into the following groups: 1) religious offerings at THB 5.6 billion (a contraction of 5.1 percent); 2) travel/merit-making/dining outside the home at THB 2.9 billion (a contraction of 20.8 percent); and 3) lucky money at THB 3.2 billion (a contraction of 8.1 percent). The COVID-19 situation and the government's control and preventive measures should still be closely monitored. If the Bangkok Metropolitan Area sees an uptick in the number of cases during the Chinese New Year after the relaxation of such measures, city dwellers' spending could potentially see a larger-than-projected contraction.
The new COVID-19 outbreak has expedited the transformation of Bangkokians' spending behavior as evidenced by the volume of Chinese New Year offering sets purchased online, and the surge in phone ordering for home delivery compared to recent years. Businesses should seek to adapt themselves and diversify their service channels to match these shifts in consumer behavior. More importantly, if they can build consumer confidence with regard to product quality – especially the freshness of meats and vegetables, and the cost-effectiveness of home delivery as opposed to shopping trips – consumers would likely be more inclined to shop online.