Songkran 2024: Make a Splash with NIQ’s Consumer Spending Insights and Strategies for Marketers


Songkran 2024: Make a Splash with NIQ’s Consumer Spending Insights and Strategies for Marketers

As Songkran 2024 approaches, Thailand’s vibrant New Year celebration extends to a groundbreaking 21-day festival, promising significant economic impact. This white paper showcases NIQ’s findings on consumer behavior during this period, emphasizing a cautious yet quality-focused spending mentality among Thais. It delves into the evolving consumer trends, spending behaviors, and emerging market opportunities during Songkran, informed by insights from NIQ’s latest market research.

Amidst economic challenges, some consumers are poised to elevate their celebrations with premium purchases, from gourmet home ingredients to upscale dining experiences, reflecting a nuanced appreciation for quality over quantity. However, the prevailing sentiment leans towards budget-consciousness, with a considerable majority opting to maintain or reduce holiday expenditures. 

Despite economic pressures and political uncertainty in the past year, the majority of Thai consumers (84%) intend to maintain or reduce their spending on holiday celebrations and social gatherings, with only a select group of Thai consumers planning to increase their celebratory spending this year​​.  

In spite of this overall trend towards frugality, those looking to spend more are directing their budgets towards high-value gifts and premium experiences. The 2023 NIQ Mid-year Consumer Outlook Survey highlights a notable inclination that 69% of consumers plan to allocate more towards spending on premium and quality ingredients for parties at home, 59% plan to spend more on casual dining, and 39% plan to spend more on fine dining​​.  

The Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) sector, particularly premium fresh foods, stands to benefit as 74% of consumers are willing to upgrade to better meat or seafood options for holiday socializing​​. On the other hand, a substantial portion of the population is adopting cost-cutting measures, with 32% planning to spend less by opting for budget-friendly celebrations, utilizing sales for gift purchases, and focusing on homemade gifts​​. 

This pivot reflects a deeper appreciation for intimate, quality experiences over material possessions. 

Travel has regained prominence, with a notable shift towards valuing experiences over material possessions. 71% believe their values and priorities have changed over the last two years after the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those, 39% agree that they have realized experiences matter more than possessions. This can be attributed to an increase in demand for both domestic and international travel, and Songkran is the peak travel period for Thais. 

Focus on Private Labels and Budget-Conscious Decisions 

Consumers are showing confidence in private labels, balancing quality with cost. NIQ research shows that 35% say private label products are higher or equal in quality versus name brands, with another 21% saying they’re willing to pay the same or more for a private label product. Marketers can leverage this by highlighting the value and quality of their private labels, highlighting more unique product offers versus name brands, and offering budget-friendly options without compromising quality. 

Market Dynamics and Strategic Insights 

Market dynamics are shifting towards more discerning consumption patterns, with a growing emphasis on quality and meaningful experiences. Strategic insights suggest that businesses must adapt by offering products and services that align with consumer desires for authenticity and personalization. This involves understanding the nuanced difference between wants and needs, with a focus on delivering value that resonates on a personal level. 

Predictions for Songkran 2024 

Consumers increasingly value presence over presents, indicating a preference for experiences and quality time with loved ones over material gifts. This trend underscores the importance of creating offerings that facilitate memorable experiences for those traveling home to visit family or friends gathering to celebrate with water fights and parties. 

Leadership Strategies for Adapting to Holiday Spending Trends 

Leaders should focus on delivering value and convenience and leveraging private labels to meet evolving consumer expectations. Emphasizing the quality and value proposition of private labels and making shopping experiences more convenient and personalized can help businesses effectively adapt to these holiday spending trends. 

Source: NIQ Mid-year Consumer Outlook Survey, 2023

Strategic recommendations

To navigate this diverse consumer landscape, businesses should: 

  • Leverage the trend towards at-home celebrations by providing unique dining and socializing options that cater to the desire for intimate gatherings. 
  • Anticipate polarized consumer behavior with strategies to appeal to budget-conscious customers and those seeking luxury experiences. 
  • Engage in thoughtful marketing emphasizing experiences and connections over material goods, resonating with the growing consumer preference for meaningful holiday celebrations. 
  • Casual and Fine Dining establishments can capitalize on increased spending on at-home socializing with delivery and catering promotions. 

The path forward for CPGs

The Songkran festival in Thailand presents a dynamic market landscape shaped by shifting consumer trends and economic pressures. Businesses that adeptly align their offerings and marketing strategies with these evolving preferences stand to capitalize on immediate opportunities and build lasting relationships with their customers.  

By embracing the less-is-more approach and focusing on delivering value and authenticity, brands can navigate the complexities of the festive season, ensuring a prosperous Songkran festival for consumers and businesses alike. 

Get the Full View of Thailand’s FMCG Spending During Holidays.

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