Thailand has the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia, and the 20th-largest in the world by PPP. The country has an emerging economy which is forecasted to grow at 2.6 percent in 2021, and is considered a newly industrialized economy with manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism as leading sectors of the economy.
In 2017 GDP was US$1.236 trillion (on a purchasing power parity basis). Thailand ranks midway in the wealth spread in Southeast Asia as it is the 4th richest nation according to GDP per capita, after Singapore, Brunei, and Malaysia. Thailand functions as an anchor economy for the neighbouring developing economies of Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia. In the third quarter of 2014, the unemployment rate in Thailand stood at 0.84% according to Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).
Like many countries, Thailand’s economy was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic last year. The country’s GDP fell by over 6 percent in 2020 and many workers, especially those related to the tourism sector, lost their jobs. The financial sector has thus far weathered the pandemic well, but stress has been building up in the small and medium enterprises sector.
When it comes to payment trends, bank transfer continues to top the e-commerce market at 31% while cash (62%) is still the choice for point-of-sale purchases. Keep an eye out for digital payments as consumers are migrating their credit cards into digital/mobile wallets.