The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been tough on small- and medium-sized enterprises, which are the backbone of Thailand’s economic growth and development. Increased digital transformation, changes in customer behaviour, restrictions on travel, limited operations of retail outlets and restaurants, and inflation, to name but a few, caused a number of businesses to shut down.
Now, many of them have reopened, started afresh or even expanded thank to vaccinations and the government’s relaxation measures.
To help them adapt to the pandemic, survive, revive and even thrive, finbiz by ttb, an educational resource initiated by TMBThanachart (ttb) to empower and educate small business owners and entrepreneurs, forecasts that small business trends will dominate the market and set the tone in the year to come. This will provide the opportunities for owners to challenge themselves and experiment with new creative ideas to help their businesses grow.
New normal, new opportunities for the health and wellness industry
The Thai health and wellness industry has been on an upward trend over the past few years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the spread of other viruses including Monkeypox. People have shifted their focus to living a healthy lifestyle and are willing to spend more on products to keep themselves in good shape physically and mentally.
Finbiz by ttb predicts that the market will continue to boom in 2023, driven by the recovery of the private hospital business. It expects the private hospital market to grow by 8-10% in 2023.
In fact, according to ttb analytics, a research house also under TMBThanachart Bank, the private hospital business started to recover last year from the setbacks caused by the impacts of Covid-19 thanks largely to the government’s relaxation of strict measures that allowed foreigners to enter the country and the registration of over 960,000 legal migrant workers under the social security system with private hospitals.
The SME learning center expects consumer spending on in-clinic aesthetic treatments, massage and spa treatments to increase as consumers are well-informed about the Covid-19 pandemic and have improved attitudes and practices to prevent Covid-19. This has helped boost their confidence to get back to normal after the lockdown.
During the lockdown, consumers’ spending habits changed. People bought at-home beauty tools for DIY treatments that allowed them to imitate the spa experience at home due to limits on in-person services, social distancing and mandatory mask-wearing.
Healthy and sustainable food trends will take center stage
More and more consumers are turning to healthy, sustainable food sources and eating a variety of foods to maintain their health. They are eating less salt, sugars and saturated fats. They are also sticking to diets that have the least environmental impact on the planet and are beneficial for their health and well-being, like plant-based foods. This is one of the main factors that is set to fuel the healthy food industry’s growth.
“Delivery Trend Report 2022” by Grab revealed that once every 2-3 days, 74% of Thai customers will order plant-based food. Healthy food is no longer limited to any particular group. Two in 5 of consumers have tried food with plant-based meat in 6 months.
Pet humanization will drive stronger growth of the pet care industry
The rising pet humanization trend in which pet owners treat their pets like children has had a major impact on the pet care industry, finbiz by ttb said, referring to a research study by Morgan Stanley.
The study indicated that almost 70% of pet owners regard their pets as important members of the family, with 66% of them saying they are attached to their pet, 47% of them treating their pet like their child and 37% of them admitting they would take on debt for veterinarian expenses.
Lalada Veerakanawut, co-owner of Summer Dog Pool, said people have changed their behavior and the way they regard the role of a pet in their households and that has driven the pet industry to grow and diversify.
She added that humanization has contributed to an increase in spending especially on premium products and services.
“More owners are pampering their pets to ensure that they receive the best of care. They spend on pet food, supplies, vet care and services. They treat their pets as family members. And that opens so many more opportunities for businesses,” she said.
Pet owners also spoil their pets with premium products and services such as clothing, grooming, exercising, training and other items.
“Owners like to dress their pets for special occasions, take them swimming and even in public places like department stores. Many condo projects and restaurants are pet friendly,” she said adding that pets are allowed in more public spaces in Thailand.
Lalada said that the number of dogs and cats in Thailand has increased over the past few years, explaining that people had spent more time at home during the lockdown which resulted in more adoptions. And they also have more time to look after their pet.
Big cities are the biggest markets for pet businesses, she said, adding that the number of players providing pet-related services has increased over the years.
“When we started our business 8 years ago, the number of dog pool providers were limited, but they are now on the rise,” she said.
Located on Sukhumvit Road, Summer Dog Pool provides dog swimming pool services and pet hotel and daycare services.
Digitalization has also played a role in the robust growth of the pet care market, Lalada said.
“More pet owners are getting information about products and services and shopping online. And more online pet shops are able to offer a wider range of products and services. So, with these factors, the pet industry’s future looks bright,” she said.
By Veena Thoopkrajae