Households were concerned about the overall economic and living conditions in December 2020 as well as for the following three months. The KR Household Economic Condition Index (KR-ECI) and the 3-month Expected KR-ECI fell from 41.0 and 41.1 in November 2020 to 40.2 and 40.7 respectively in December 2020, due to the continued increase in numbers of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Thailand. Some provinces that have been hit hard by the outbreak have been declared as highly controlled areas, causing many places to be closed temporarily and some residents to cancel their year-end travel plans, while New Year’s countdown events were called off as well. Households began to be more concerned about employment and income, as the income-related index fell from 48.9 in November 2020 to 46.9 in December 2020, indicating that the labor market had not recovered yet and is likely to remain fragile.
In addition, households were increasingly concerned about prices of goods due to the continued increase in fresh food prices. Other components of the surveyed goods prices index also showed that households were more concerned about the cost of medicine and health services due to the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, while the prices of goods related to disease prevention also rose again.
Meanwhile, KResearch conducted an additional survey on households’ spending behavior for consumer goods in 2020. Although Thai households faced lower income and unemployment problems in the past year, the spending behavior on consumer goods of most respondents, including spending frequency, product size, quantity of purchased items and spending amount in consumer goods per month, remained at the same level as the previous year, partly thanks to the government’s assistance measures throughout the year, including “No One Left Behind” (THB5,000 cash handout for 3 months), the “Kon La Khreung” program (or Let’s Go Halves program) and cash handouts to welfare cardholders, which partly mitigated the impact of COVID-19.
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