Twitter Insights: Retail therapy during COVID-19 lockdown

Shopping days are huge retail moments in Thailand - think 7/7, 8/8, 9/9, 10/10, 11/11, 12/12 - and they have become peaks in the annual retail cycle. With almost 4.57 billion active internet users around the world (59% of the global population) and 75% internet penetration in Thailand, it's no surprise that these shopping days have now moved online and are today major eCommerce moments. And it’s on Twitter where the shopping conversations in Thailand are happening.


A study by Statista found that USD3.53 trillion was spent on eCommerce worldwide in 2019, while data from MediaRadar found that eCommerce ad spending jumped from USD4.8 million to USD9.6 million during the pandemic. In Thailand, the eCommerce and mCommerce market combined is valued at USD39.80 billion. During COVID, while shopping malls in Thailand were closed and #StayAtHome was in force, there was a dramatic shift by consumers to shopping online. This fundamental disruption to the way people shopped in turn led to hyper growth of eCommerce in the country. With online shopping now such an important part of daily lives, brands are investing to better understand how consumers tick, what are their likes and dislikes, what influences their purchase decisions, and how the online purchase process is shaped.


“There’s no doubt that shopping conversations on Twitter are increasing across South East Asia. While we see peaks in the lead-up to eCommerce days and for a few days after, shopping is a year-round conversation on Twitter. As people are shifting more to eCommerce and mCommerce, we see this conversational trend continuing to grow rapidly,” said Arvinder Gujral - Managing Director, Twitter, South-East Asia.


“For brands, this requires a change in the way they approach their marketing. A more in-depth understanding of why people shop online and what influences their online shopping habits is needed, and in Thailand we are seeing brands turn to Twitter to connect with their customers and leverage the leaned-in nature of people on Twitter in Thailand.”


Understanding consumer trends


Shopping days have become a magnet for brands and consumers alike, and Twitter is where savvy brands are connecting with online shoppers. Recent research found that more than 4/5 people on Twitter in Thailand have recently shopped online.

For brands, understanding consumer trends is essential to their own success. Here are three key learnings for brands to help better understand consumer online shopping trends:


  1. What are they buying?

The top 5 items people on Twitter in Thailand purchased online last month, were:

  1. Shampoo (84.7%)
  2. Fabric conditioner (75.6%)
  3. Laundry detergent/ washing powder (74.2%)
  4. Conditioner (66.9%)
  5. Clothing (66.7%)


  1. What drives them to buy online?

The top four reasons Thai consumers shop online, are

  1. Free delivery (63%)
  2. Discounts (57%)
  3. Pay cash on delivery (45%)
  4. Advocacy (39%)


  1. What are consumer’s interests?

While females dominate the shopping community on Twitter in Thailand, just, knowing the general interests of consumers can help brands tailor marketing strategies and target their ad spend to maximise ROI. Female shoppers on Twitter are interested in music, health food and drinks, cooking, and beauty and cosmetics, while male shoppers are interested in technology, music, playing sport and news.

From research to purchase


Online shopping is no longer a case of log on, buy and log off. The process of shopping online is longer and more nuanced. Research and planning before purchases are made is an essential part of the process, and 94% of online shoppers on Twitter always research online towards a wish list before making a payment.


Online shoppers on Twitter are influential. They have a discovery mindset, are receptive to new products and ideas, and create and actively participate in shopping conversations. For brands, it’s important to curate a positive online reputation as 50% of online shoppers in Thailand check social networks, including Twitter, to find info about brands and products.



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Focus on the process more than the purchase


Online shopping is a process. When looking at shopping days such as 10/10, Twitter sees that the eCommerce moment is actually a 10-14 day process with key milestones that brands should leverage along the way. Brands that invest and focus solely on the shopping day itself, will benefit less than those that engage with consumers along the journey.


For brands to maximise their online shopping success, Twitter share the 5 Phases of eCommerce days:


Phase 1: Conversations Start


Approximately 6-7 days before the eCommerce day, conversations start on Twitter. People Tweet about promotional codes and collect them to help reduce their total basket price on the actual eCommerce day.

Brand Tip: Kickstart these conversations by releasing special codes or details of promotions. Engage with VITs to Tweet about must-have items which will help shoppers to create wish-lists.


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Phase 2: Warm Up


This is the time when people on Twitter discuss with friends about what they plan to buy.

Brand Tip: Work with your VITs as product advocates to influence shoppers and help to “warm-up” the conversations before eCommerce day.


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Phase 3: eCommerce Day


On the eCommerce day itself, shoppers continue to search for additional promotional codes and these can impact their shopping decisions on the day.

Brand Tip: eCommerce day is a time when Twitter users can be influenced; peer reviews and opinions by VITs can have an impact on their shopping decisions.



Phase 4: Unboxing


Twitter shoppers love to share what they bought, and for a few days after the official eCommerce day they share visuals of unboxing what they purchased. With promotions still ongoing, this is a time when shoppers make additional purchases, persuaded by what others have bought and Tweets from brands and VITs.

Brand Tip: Whitelist relevant unboxing Tweets to help sustain conversation momentum and drive further sales.


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Phase 5: Aftermatch


The final phase can run for a further 3-4 days as people Tweet their feedback after using products they bought. Some also like to remind that promotions are about to end and this advocacy can reinforce people’s desire to shop on these final days.

Brand Tip: Make a final marketing push with messages such as “final call” or “this is the last chance”.


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Against a backdrop of social distancing and restricted movement, purchasing habits have changed considerably in 2020. And while Twitter’s influential audience consistently leads the conversations around shopping online, brands are responding in kind and choosing Twitter as their launch channel of choice for their new products and services.