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Money Mayhem Looms: Shocking Study Reveals Thai Consumers’ Turmoil Over Economic Downturn and the Unexpected Lifeline They’re Clinging To!

Recently, United Overseas Bank (UOB) Thailand made public its flagship study titled ASEAN Consumer Sentiment Study (ACSS) for the year 2023. The report revealed intriguing trends regarding economic frets and digital banking growth unfolding in Thailand. Thai consumers appear to maintain inherent optimism over their economy, albeit stirring worries over impending economic recessions.

The ACSS uncovers several pivotal findings. On the whole, Thai consumers manifest a positive sentiment. However, a significant 72% of respondents demonstrate anxiety over a possible economic downturn on the horizon over the next 6-12 months. Evidently, escalating inflation and mounting household expenses engender a conservative stance regarding finance for Thai folks. More funds are being funneled into savings and investment. Furthermore, digital banking and payment channels, especially mobile banking apps and e-wallets, have witnessed a solid growth trajectory in Thailand. Intriguingly, Thai consumers are very much open to sharing their personal information in return for customized banking offers.

Mr Yuttachai Teyarachakul, personal financial services head at UOB Thailand, opines that the ACSS 2023 offers essential insights for consumers and entrepreneurs alike, to deftly navigate the existing economic climate. The study enables UOB to continually focus on enabling individuals to achieve their financial objectives despite doubtful uncertainties, leveraging the evolving digital banking structure, and exploiting economic opportunities.

ACSS is UOB’s renowned analysis of consumer trends and sentiments in five countries around the world – Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Having run for four years, the 2023 survey captured responses from 600 Thai consumers of varied demographics in June.

The survey underscores that financial worries are foremost on the minds of Thai citizens. About 57% of respondents dread rising inflation. An alarming 14% uptick in worry about soaring household expenses, along with an 11% increase in diminishing savings concerns, is noticed. Consequently, Gen Z appears to prioritize savings and investment planning majorly. More Thai consumers have begun to conscientiously monitor their spending and finances via online banking interfaces. Most have leaned towards investing in low-risk options, including bank savings and fixed deposits, and diversifying their investments across non-banking fiscal instruments.

Recognizing these trends, UOB emphasizes the importance of adopting a farsighted approach to wealth planning, with special emphasis on prudence and risk management. According to Mr Yuttachai, sustainable financial products must be stitched into the investment strategy to accrue lasting wealth. This should align seamlessly with the individual’s risk profile for successful wealth planning.

Thailand is celebrating a momentous position of digital banking adoption leadership within the ASEAN region. A whopping 61% of Thai users have adopted mobile banking apps last year, which surpasses the regional average. Additionally, preferred choices for payment trend towards e-wallets and QR code-based alternatives. More than 80% of Thai financial consumers are reported to be leveraging digital trading and wealth management platforms. Thai consumers are also increasingly open to sharing personal data to receive a more personalized banking service. With banking apps as the preferred choice for data sharing, this reveals their strong proclivity towards customized product and service offers.

Responding to these shifting preferences, Mr Yuttachai expresses UOB’s vision for personalized banking solutions, underscored in their UOB TMRW mobile banking app. The AI-driven app offers personalized suggestions and conversations for each customer by deeply analyzing transaction data and forecasting their needs. They are already looking towards the next step of providing autonomous and personalized investment counselling services on the app, ensuring customers can navigate their finances more evenly and astutely.

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