In its UOB ASEAN Consumer Sentiment Study (ACSS) for 2023, United Overseas Bank (UOB) Thailand has drawn attention to the current economic fears and increasing importance of digital banking in Thailand. While confidence in the economy remains high amongst Thai consumers, there is a growing unease about impending financial downturns.
Key revelations from the report include: Majority of the Thai consumers possessing a positive outlook, 72 percent anticipating a potential economic slump within the next year, Thai consumers becoming more financially cautious due to rising inflation and growing household expenses, and an observable surge in digital banking and payment modes, specifically mobile banking applications and e-wallets in Thailand.
With helpful insights for consumers and businesses alike in the present economic scenario, “the UOB ACSS 2023 continues to inspire individuals to fulfil their financial goals through the emerging digital banking arena and make the most of the current business opportunities,” says Mr Yuttachai Teyarachakul, the Head of Personal Financial Services at UOB Thailand. Since its initiation four years back, this year’s survey took place in June with 600 Thai consumers contributing their views.
Significant concerns regarding the finance industry are now being addressed in Thailand. The report shows that rising inflation is distressing 57 percent of participants. Reports also show an evident rise in worries regarding increasing household expenses (14 percent increase) and dwindling savings (11 percent increase). Financial inclinations are also changing with a fascinating trend surfacing, where the younger generation gives precedence to saving and investments. In this respect, Gen Z and Gen Y are leading by example by planning to save more and focusing more on investments respectively.
Unpredictability has led Thai consumers to be cautious with their financial choices. The interesting revelation is that more than half the respondents are putting their money in safer options like bank savings and fixed deposits, and are tracking expenses and managing money through online banking platforms. UOB has always stressed the importance of bringing in a long-term approach towards wealth planning and focusing on discretion and risk management. “To create sustainable wealth, it is vital to emphasize wealth planning suitable for your risk profile and merge sustainable financial products into your investment strategy,” says Mr Yuttachai.
When it comes to adopting digital banking in the ASEAN region, Thailand is at the front line. 61 percent of Thai users adopted mobile banking apps last year, outdoing the regional average. The preferred payment methods were revealed to be e-wallets and QR code-based transactions. Moreover, about 80 percent of Thai consumers are actively using digital wealth management and trading platforms, with Gen Y being the most prominent users. Thai consumers are even open to sharing their personal data with banks through banking apps (89 percent agreement), indicative of a desire for personalized banking services.
In response to these evolving financial preferences, Mr Yuttachai states, “Our vision is evident in our AI-powered mobile banking application, UOB TMRW. This app serves, converses, and foresees the needs of each customer by interpreting deeper insights from transaction data, leading to better money management. We are currently developing the next phase of the UOB TMRW app, aiming to provide automated and personalized investment advisory services for enhanced and intelligent financial management.”