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More than 90% of Internet Users in Thailand Use Smartphones to Go Online

Urban regions have higher usage rates

February 13, 2017 | Mobile | Mobile

Smartphones are increasingly the dominant means of internet access and online activity in Thailand. The country’s smartphone users are among the most active in Southeast Asia, in terms of data consumption and daily time spent with their devices. But, as a new batch of demographic data reveals, smartphone use in Thailand tends to be influenced by factors like income and geography.

Devices Used by Internet Users in Thailand Access the Internet, March 2016 (% of respondents)

According to a January 2017 release of data from the National Statistical Office of Thailand, more than 90% of internet users in the country go online via smartphone, far the exceeding rates for any other device. The second most popular device for internet access was the desktop, used by just half of internet users surveyed.

However, despite the clear importance of smartphones for digital access, the device is not equally prevalent across Thailand’s geographic regions. In the capital city of Bangkok, the country’s largest urban area, more than 70% of the overall population uses smartphones, according to the National Statistical Office. By contrast, the country’s less developed Northeastern region has a usage rate of just 39.3%—though overall mobile phone usage is higher, at 76.1%.

Smartphone vs. Total Mobile Phone User Penetration in Thailand, by Region, March 2016 (% of population)

eMarketer projects that 43.8% of Thailand’s population will be smartphone users this year, with growth expected to slow over the next few years. It will take until 2020 for half the country’s population to be smartphone users, eMarketer estimates.

For more Southeast Asia coverage, see eMarketer’s recently released first-ever digital ad spending forecast for the region, created in collaboration with the Interactive Advertising Bureau Singapore (IAB Singapore). The forecast projects double-digit growth in the region in 2017, as consumer usage of mobile, video and social drives up spend.

Subscribers to eMarketer PRO can access the report here. As part of this special collaboration with the IAB Singapore, the report is also being made available at no cost to those who are not eMarketer PRO subscribers.

—Jeremy Kressmann

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