The Kingdom of Thailand is located near mainland Southeast Asia’s center. Thailand shares its extensive land border with highly populated Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos and Myanmar.
Previously called Siam, Thailand controls the sole land route connecting trading hubs Singapore and Malaysia to the rest of Asia.
Thailand is home to 69.95 million residents in 2021, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The official language of Thailand is the native Central Thai dialect, although Southern Thai and Northern Thai are also widely spoken dialects in those geographic regions.
English is spoken by approximately 500,000 Thai residents, based on estimates from the United Nations Statistics Division.
Thailand is the world’s 22nd richest economy in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on a Purchasing Power Parity basis, outputting US$1.329 trillion worth of products and services as of April 2021.
Thailand’s demand for imported consumer goods in 2020 resulted in a subtotal US$79.8 billion worth of Thai spending on the 100 most valuable consumer imports identified in this article
That consumer-driven dollar amount translates to 38.3% of the overall value of all goods imported into Thailand. Overall spending on all Thai imports, including raw materials, intermediate products and semi-finished goods, totaled an overall $208.6 billion in 2020.
Among Thailand’s most valuable consumer products in 2020 are: phone devices including smartphones; gold; automobile parts or accessories; petroleum gas; and processed petroleum oils.
Spending on all of Thailand’s imported goods dropped by -13.1% from 2019 to 2020. Thailand’s purchases focused on its top 100 consumer imports posted a bigger -14.4% decrease over the latest annual period.
The deceleration in Thai spending for key imported consumer products was worse than the global average from 2019 to 2020, which was an average drop of -8.2% for all importing countries around the world.
Among the top 100 consumer products imported by Thailand, 34 increased in total value from 2019 to 2020 whereas 66 declined.
Changes in Thai consumer demand for essential imports offer future opportunities for international suppliers who correctly anticipate which upward or downward trends will continue.
Consumer Products Defined
Economics educator BoyceWire defines a consumer product as a final good or end product that a business creates for consumers to buy. For example, consumers often purchase refined petroleum oil at the gas station while imported crude oil is an intermediate good subject to further processing before being sold to end users.
Although there may be a few wealthy individual buyers, products like turbojets are excluded from the consumer products targeted by this study. That is because turbojets are usually purchased by corporations. In contrast, it is common for a consumer to buy a motorcycle.
Types of Consumer Products
This article focuses on 3 distinct consumer product types.
Convenience Products are easy to access, non-durable, have relatively lower prices and therefore consumers frequently purchase them. Examples of convenience products are food, alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and soap.
Shopping Products are not as easily available, involve more time to make a buying decision, are durable and are not bought as often as most convenience products. A great example of a shopping product is a mobile phone where buying the wrong model is a much more expensive mistake than buying a disappointing loaf of bread.
Specialty Products describe another consumer product type. This grey area includes infrequently purchased, expensive, durable and sometimes rare items. Consumers may consider the product’s brand image when making their purchase decisions. Some examples of speciality products are gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, and branded refrigerators and dishwashers.
Thailand’s Consumer Imports Smart List
The searchable marketing intelligence table below showcases Thailand’s 100 highest-value imported consumer products in descending order. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level.
The table’s fourth column is labeled YOY for year over year. The fifth column identifies each entry’s consumer product type.
|5||Processed petroleum oils||$3,428,271,000||-44.7%||CP|
|6||Computers, optical readers||$3,228,882,000||-21.2%||SP|
|7||Unrecorded sound media||$3,161,971,000||+19.3%||SP|
|8||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$2,608,797,000||-16.5%||SP|
|9||Computer parts, accessories||$2,350,696,000||+7.6%||SP|
|10||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$2,136,314,000||-4.3%||SP|
|11||Whole fish (frozen)||$1,905,917,000||+2.2%||CP|
|13||Miscellaneous plastic items||$1,706,810,000||-6.6%||CP|
|16||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$1,326,885,000||-7.8%||CP|
|17||Electrical converters/power units||$1,319,510,000||+3%||SP|
|21||Hot-rolled iron/non-alloy steel items||$1,043,122,000||-39.2%||SP|
|22||Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins||$886,066,000||-14.7%||SP|
|23||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$842,805,000||+7.8%||CP|
|25||Other food preparations||$816,908,000||+19.1%||CP|
|26||Miscellaneous aluminum items||$691,667,000||+19.4%||SP|
|28||Packaged insecticides, herbicides||$649,864,000||-8.5%||SP|
|34||Cases, handbags, wallets||$549,682,000||-24.9%||SP|
|35||Special hand/machine tools||$535,122,000||-22.7%||SY|
|37||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$521,004,000||+17.3%||SY|
|40||Vulcanized rubber items||$492,207,000||-10%||SP|
|42||Electric storage batteries||$467,580,000||+4.2%||SY|
|43||Manioc roots, artichokes, sweet potatoes||$446,177,000||+55.7%||CP|
|44||Rubber tires (new)||$430,595,000||-7.2%||SP|
|49||Dishwash, clean/dry/fill machines||$370,966,000||+6.9%||SY|
|50||Other organic cleaning preparations||$367,725,000||-5.9%||CP|
|51||Malt extract, food preparations||$326,391,000||+12.5%||CP|
|53||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$320,578,000||-21%||SP|
|54||Apples, pears (fresh)||$319,390,000||+21%||CP|
|55||Whole fish (fresh)||$303,897,000||+0.7%||CP|
|56||Magnets including electro-magnets||$299,761,000||+2.5%||SY|
|60||Household base metal mountings||$253,647,000||-17.8%||SY|
|62||Fish fillets, pieces||$242,589,000||-14%||CP|
|63||Coconuts, Brazil nuts, cashews||$226,981,000||+61.4%||CP|
|64||Fish or meat flours, pellets||$224,554,000||-0.3%||SP|
|66||Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)||$221,005,000||-3.9%||CP|
|68||Electric generating sets, converters||$212,017,000||-57.1%||SY|
|70||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$198,701,000||-0.1%||CP|
|72||Other printed pictures, photos||$183,065,000||+219.9%||SY|
|74||Crustaceans (including lobsters)||$178,957,000||-26.3%||CP|
|75||Miscellaneous ceramic items||$177,573,000||+4%||SP|
|76||Wrist/pocket watches (regular case)||$177,225,000||-40.3%||SP|
|78||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$175,088,000||-34%||CP|
|82||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$171,884,000||+19%||SP|
|85||Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools||$163,885,000||-29.6%||SY|
|86||Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)||$161,861,000||-25.9%||SP|
|87||Grapes (fresh or dried)||$158,617,000||-0.4%||CP|
|89||Miscellaneous textile items||$153,182,000||+40.7%||SP|
|91||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$141,215,000||-16.6%||SP|
|92||Coffee/tea extracts, concentrates||$135,607,000||+21.4%||CP|
|93||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$135,159,000||-17.5%||SP|
|94||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$135,009,000||-8.8%||CP|
|98||Vegetable saps, extracts||$122,156,000||+3.3%||CP|
|99||Miscellaneous preserved fruits||$120,206,000||-3.6%||CP|
|100||Prepared glues, adhesives||$116,025,000||-4.4%||SP|
Totaling 41 items, Thailand’s most popular product type is shopping products (SP). This cohort was led by imported phone devices including smartphones; automobile parts or accessories; computers; unrecorded sound or media; miscellaneous items made from iron or steel; and computer parts or accessories.
In second place via 35 items are convenience products (CP), articles that are bought routinely, used only once and generally require less thinking time before making a buying decision. Popular examples include petroleum gas; processed petroleum oils; wine; frozen whole fish; miscellaneous plastic items; medications; and soya beans.
Another 24 speciality products (SY) rank among Thailand’s top 100 imported consumer goods. Major speciality products imported into Thailand include gold; unset diamonds; beauty, makeup and skin care products; jewelry; and silver.
Durable consumer products are goods like cars, trucks, printing machinery, insulated wire or cable, and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again. By product type, note that both shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer goods.
Non-durable consumer products (ND) are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Coal, medications, sugar and corn are examples of non-durable goods. Convenience products are uniquely non-durable consumer products.
Based on the product types identified in the above table, 65 of Thailand’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while 35 are classified as non-durable.
Using the provided table, you can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2019 to 2020. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into Thailand that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2019 to 2020.
- Miscellaneous pictures, photos: Up 219.9% (US$183.1 million)
- Barley: Up 85.6% ($172.5 million)
- Corn: Up 77.5% ($286.1 million)
- Coconuts, Brazil nuts, cashews: Up 61.4% ($227 million)
- Manioc roots, artichokes, sweet potatoes: Up 55.7% ($446.2 million)
- Miscellaneous textile items: Up 40.7% ($153.2 million)
- Soya beans: Up 26.8% ($1.6 billion)
- Coffee/tea extracts, concentrates: Up 21.4% ($135.6 million)
- Fresh apples, pears: Up 21% ($319.4 million)
- Coffee: Up 19.5% ($128.9 million)
One among the above top 10 gainers is a speciality product and therefore also a durable good that consumers can re-use over time. That speciality product is miscellaneous printed pictures and photos.
Miscellaneous textile items are the fastest-growers among the top imported shopping products.
The 8 remaining front-runners are non-durable imported consumer products. These growth leaders include barley, corn, soya beans and coffee.
Worst-Declining Consumer Imports
Spending by import buyers in Thailand on the following 10 items decreased in value by the highest percentages from 2019 to 2020.
- Electric generating sets, converters: Down -57.1% ($212 million)
- Dried vegetables: Down -56.8% ($133.1 million)
- Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung): Down -48.3% ($320.7 million)
- Beauty/makeup/skin care: Down -45.2% ($615.3 million)
- Processed petroleum oils: Down -44.7% ($3.4 billion)
- Jewelry: Down -41.7% ($584.9 million)
- Wrist/pocket watches (with regular case): Down -40.3% ($177.2 million)
- Items made from hot-rolled iron/non-alloy steel: Down -39.2% ($1 billion)
- Diamonds (unmounted/unset): Down -36% ($1.3 billion)
- Alcoholic beverages (including spirits, liqueurs): Down -34% ($175.1 million)
Two categories among Thai top 10 severest decliners are durable shopping products used over a period of time. The worst slippage among those categories was for Thailand’s imported wrist or pocket watches with precious metal cases and items made from hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel.
The strongest decline for the 5 durable speciality goods belongs to electric generating sets or converters; unstrung precious or semi-precious stones; beauty, makeup or skin care goods; jewelry; and unset diamonds.
There were 3 non-durable consumer products among Thailand’s 10 major import decliners from 2019 to 2020, namely dried vegetables; processed petroleum oils; and alcoholic beverages including spirits or liqueurs.
Key Suppliers by Country
This analysis reveals competitive suppliers that target demand for 5 of Thailand’s top consumer import products.
Thailand’s biggest imported consumer product by value is phone devices including smartphones. The other 4 leading consumer goods imported into Thailand are gold, automobile parts or accessories, petroleum gas and processed petroleum oils.
Below, you will find major supplying countries for Thailand’s imported:
Phone devices including smartphones: China (71.6% of total), Vietnam (9.7%), Thailand (4.4%), Malaysia (3%), Taiwan (2.7%), United States (1.8%), Japan (1.3%), Mexico (1%), Laos (0.9%), and India (0.6%).
Gold: Singapore (25% of total), Hong Kong (24.3%), Switzerland (24%), Laos (6.8%), Cambodia (6.7%), Malaysia (2.6%), Japan (2.2%), Australia (also 2.2%), Germany (0.9%), and South Korea (also 0.9%).
Automobile parts or accessories: Japan (42.6% of total), China (17.2%), United States (8.8%), Germany (6%), Indonesia (5%), Philippines (4%), India (2.6%), Mexico (2.4%), Vietnam (2%), and South Korea (1.9%).
Petroleum gas: Myanmar (44.9% of total), Qatar (22.2%), Australia (8.7%), Malaysia (8%), United States (6%), Indonesia (2.2%), Nigeria (1.7%), United Arab Emirates (1.3%), Oman (also 1.3%), and Brunei Darussalam (1%).
Processed petroleum oils: Singapore (24.9% of total), United Arab Emirates (19.7%), Kuwait (8.2%), Qatar (7.1%), South Korea (6.4%), Malaysia (6%), Saudi Arabia (5.9%), China (4.7%), Japan (3.8%), and Algeria (2.2%).
More great research: Thailand’s Main Imports by Top Supplier Countries, United States Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, Switzerland’s 100 Most Valuable Imported Consumer Products, United Kingdom’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, 100 Top Consumer Products to Sell to Importers in Taiwan, Sweden’s Top Imported Consumer Products Ranked by Value
Independent insights and analysis presented in this article are based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.
BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Thailand Economy.
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Richest Country Reports, Top 100 Richest Countries by GDP.
Trading Economics, Thailand Consumer Spending.
Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.
World’s Top Exports, Thailand’s Top 10 Imports.