Thailand’s internet users have embraced digital life with enthusiasm; this is reflected in record amounts of time spent on mobile, according to GlobalWebIndex.
In H1 2018, smartphone penetration in Thailand was almost double that of desktop and laptop PCs and significantly ahead of other device ownership. A year later, the difference is even greater: 98.7% of internet users ages 16 to 64 owned a smartphone, while just 43.6% owned a PC. Tablet penetration was also low by global standards, at 30.3%.
Similarly, the time spent on mobile devices in 2018—5 hours, 13 minutes (5:13), on average—was 1 hour, 15 minutes more than the average time spent daily on PCs and tablets. In H1 2019, Thailand’s internet users were still devoting more than 5 hours daily to their mobile devices, while PC/tablet time remained just under 4 hours. These figures should be placed in context: The sample population polled was predominantly young and urban, and both of these factors generally contribute to more intensive engagement with digital media (see note below).
At 31.0%, ownership of smart TVs may appear relatively low, but this average disguises notable differences related to age, household income and location. It’s no surprise that the early adopters of smart TVs in Thailand are older adults, affluents and those residing in urban areas. High income was the single factor most likely to indicate a smart TV owner.
A large majority of internet users in Thailand access TV and other video content via digital devices and platforms. Some 78.0% had used a TV channel’s catch-up or on-demand services to watch programs in the month prior to polling. Moreover, nearly 57% had used a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service such as Netflix. This proliferation of video options boosted video-on-demand (VOD) usage to 93.9% of internet users this year, compared with 87.4% in H1 2018. For daily time spent, internet users devoted an estimated 1:37 to streaming or watching TV online.
Social media usage was equally widespread, at 93.2% of internet users; in fact, there may be some overlap between social media and video consumption, as GlobalWebIndex includes YouTube in its social network category. Time spent on social networks slipped from an average of 3:11 daily in H1 2018 to 2:57 in H1 2019—but remained high by global standards.
Penetration of digital audio approached 80% in H1 2019 and passed 90% among respondents 16 to 24. Usage was lower in the 45-to-54 age bracket, at 67.2%, but still higher than the comparable figures in most countries surveyed.
Thailand is also a leader in voice assistant usage. Some 44.0% of internet users said they had used voice to query apps, such as Siri or Cortana, built into their mobile phones or had used voice commands to interact with a smart speaker at home. Young adults ages 25 to 34 were in the vanguard, but usage was highest (53.4%) among internet users in the top 25% of households, ranked by income.