Thailand: Mother’s Day to see 9% rise in spending

Spending on Mother’s Day is expected to increase by 9% this year to 10.8 billion baht, the highest level since 2012, as consumers feel less concerned about the Omicron variant of Covid-19, reflecting the start of the country’s tepid economic recovery, according to the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).

Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the UTCC, said the survey on spending behaviour during Mother’s Day on Aug 12, including 1,288 respondents nationwide, showed that most of those sampled plan to spend more on the holiday and will go out to travel and dine out.

Most of the respondents also believed the economy is going to improve, but 36.5% of them said they plan to reduce their spending because of the economic uncertainties, the high cost of living and high level of debt.

According to Mr Thanavath, most respondents planned to take their mothers to dine out, make merit and take a day trip to the provinces.

He said it was the first poll that indicated clearly that the economy has started recovering now that people have fewer concerns about the Covid-19 situation.

“Higher spending comes in line with other data such as higher car sales, home sales and recovering purchasing power, driven by the rising export volume and recovering tourism,” said Mr Thanavath. “Thai export growth is estimated at 5-8% this year while the number of foreign tourists is estimated at 8-10 million for the whole year in 2022.”

However, Mr Thanavath noted the economic recovery remains fragile now that the recovery is propelled only by the export and tourism sectors.

“Generally people may not feel the economic recovery because of the higher cost of living and people still have insufficient income to support their spending,” he said. “It is important then for the government to closely oversee energy prices, both oil and electricity bills to help mitigate people’s cost of living.”

In a related development, Mr Thanavath expects the Monetary Policy Committee, which is due to meet today, to raise its benchmark interest rate by 0.25 basis points to tame the rising rate of inflation.

“The Thai economy is likely to witness a remarkable recovery in the fourth quarter driven by better tourism during November and December,” he said.