Bangkok, Thailand — 21 November 2023: Brands in Thailand are prioritizing customer experiences to drive growth, but are challenged by reduced budgets, according to new research from Adobe. To save on costs, organizations in Thailand are cutting their marketing and customer experience budgets - 34% have already done so and 33% will in the next 12 months.
In response, Thailand brands are seeking to drive efficiencies by deploying technology solutions that improve workflow efficiency (62%) and implementing generative AI (61%). In comparison, only 64% of Southeast Asia (SEA) brands across Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, are investing in technologies that improve workflows, and 56% are implementing generative AI.
Consumers in Thailand are excited by how generative AI can improve products and services (46%) and the customer experience (48%). Interestingly, 28% of Thailand consumers believe leveraging generative AI is necessary for businesses to remain competitive, compared to 35% in SEA.
In the workplace, a large majority (95%) of Thailand employees said they had already used generative AI in marketing and customer experience campaigns. This is contrasted by only 54% of Thailand respondents saying the company they work for currently uses generative AI tools. Employees are using text-to-image generators to create promotional brand materials and content (57%), as well as develop concepts and mock ups for campaigns (52%). Where conversational AI is concerned, half of employees (50%) use the tool for copy generation as well as research and insights.
Similarly, 95% of employees across SEA are leveraging generative AI tools in marketing campaigns, while only 42% of SEA respondents say their company is currently using generative AI tools.
"A large majority of employees across SEA are incorporating generative AI tools at work, underscoring an urgent need for organisations to get ahead of the curve in AI usage regulations and policies," said Simon Dale, Vice President & Managing Director, Southeast Asia & Korea, Adobe. "As generative AI technologies continue to evolve, an absence of a set of strong guardrails and AI ethics principles can pose risks to the organisation and even erode consumer trust."
Thailand brands should prioritize key factors that foster trust and spending: data security, sustainability, and accessibility.
Adobe's research found that in a challenging economic environment, brand trust is a key determining factor for consumer spending. About 1 in 3 (33%) of consumers in Thailand said they are more likely to stay loyal to brands they trust, while half (49%) are more likely to spend more.
In a challenging economy, the number one factor in building consumer trust is keeping data safe and using it in a respectful manner. This is followed by the provision of products and services that benefit people and the planet, that are at the same time developed ethically. These factors are also likely to increase the amount a customer spends with a brand.
Conversely, a large majority (81%) of Thai consumers say they will decrease spending with brands that don't keep their data safe and respect their privacy, including almost half (37%) that will refuse to spend at all. An inaccessible experience that does not support the needs of people with disabilities will also prompt 76% to spend less, while 78% will cut spending if a brand does not comply with sustainability regulations and requirements.
Despite its impact on consumer spending choices, 46% of APAC brands fail to see data safety as important to attracting and retaining customers. For accessible and sustainable products and services, that number rises to 51% and 54%, respectively.
"Consumers are growing mindful of data privacy and how brands are delivering on sustainability and accessibility. To maintain brand trust amidst market shifts and evolving consumer behaviour, brands must demonstrate responsible practices and social accountability. This includes leveraging emerging digital technologies as a business advantage to not only improve engagement, but also keep consumer data safe," said Dale.
About the research
The research is derived from an online survey of more than 16,113 consumers and 4,250 marketing and customer experience professionals globally. The survey, conducted by Advanis, was in the field in May 2023. The SEA analysis comprises a sample of 1,005 consumer respondents and 676 marketing and customer experience professionals across Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.