Mintel research uncovers trends in Thais’ festival habits post-COVID, with more opting to stay in

May 11, 2023
  • Food and gatherings remain fundamental elements of celebration in modern Thai culture, and reunion with loved ones is a top priority for more than 80% of consumers.
  • Seven in 10 Thais are choosing to stay in during festive/special occasions to beat cost of living increases.
  • Nostalgia and indulgence are top trends for targeting Thai consumers during festival periods.

Following Thailand’s first Songkran (Thai New Year) festival period since the lifting of all COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, global market intelligence firm Mintel’s latest research reveals how Thai consumers’ celebration habits have evolved and the trends driving purchasing behaviours around special occasions*.

Celebrating festivals with family and friends remains a fundamental part of Thai culture, with over eight in ten (82%) Thais agreeing that getting together with others to celebrate is a cornerstone of festivities, according to Mintel research. While older consumers look to celebrate traditional Thai holidays like Songkran (57%), Gen Z and Millennials also seek opportunities to celebrate Western holidays: nearly a quarter (22%, respectively) of Millenials and Gen Z say they celebrate Christmas, and a similar proportion say they celebrate Valentine’s Day (19% and 23%, respectively).

With inflation on the rise, 46% of Thai consumers have already cut back on dining out in the last three months through December 2022, according to Mintel’s APAC Economic Tracker. Furthermore, Mintel research shows that seven in 10 Thais prefer to stay in to celebrate during festive/special occasions, with nearly half cooking to eat at home (47%) rather than eating out (31%).

Price-conscious consumers also look for ways to economise further, with more than two in five (45%) saying they will even wait for festival-specific discounts before shopping. 

Wilasinee (Kaimook) Siriboonpipattana, PhD, Senior Lifestyle Research Analyst, Mintel Reports Thailand, said: 

“While Thais see COVID-19 as less of a threat today, they continue to be challenged by the economic crisis, driving more to celebrate holiday occasions at home. Some brands are identifying opportunities to tap into this trend, for example, by launching special offers to provide consumers with a more convenient way to celebrate without overspending. 

“Brands and retailers can also meet consumer demand for restaurant-quality products at home by offering customers access to items typically found in restaurants, whether through ready-to-eat delivery services, DIY kits or online cooking classes. Festive food in the form of ready meals that clearly communicate freshness and health (e.g. low sodium) can also drive appeal.”

Despite economic pressures, more than nine in ten (94%) of consumers are still willing to shop during the holidays. The report suggests that brands can leverage nostalgia to appeal to consumers, as 82% of Thais agree that holidays remind them of their childhood.

“Brands can tap into nostalgia by creating occasions that bring older consumers back to the carefree joys of childhood. Many expect celebrations to be similar to those celebrated when they were children, often by design and concept. Nostalgic campaigns that allow consumers to reminisce on past celebrations and re-live those experiences encourage consumers to associate feelings of warmth and nostalgia with brands, ultimately leading to engagement and building brand affinity,” Kaimook added.

Many Thais also increasingly prioritise wellness and healthy eating. Mintel Global Consumer research shows that more than half of Thai consumers (51%) agree that they put a lot of thought into what they eat, highlighting the need for brands to help consumers with guilt-free indulgence.

“We know that Thai consumers are motivated to purchase products containing specific nutritional ingredients to improve their health, but during celebratory periods, this motivation can take a backseat in favour of indulgence. If brands can find a way to meet both needs via healthier alternatives that still provide a sense of celebration, they’ll be in a solid position to appeal to consumers.

“Products and supplements that offer gut health benefits can also enable consumers to feast with peace of mind and avoid stomach discomfort during festive seasons,” Kaimook concluded.

Mintel’s Festival Lifestyles Thai Consumer 2023 Report is available for purchase in the Mintel Store.

For more information or to schedule an interview with our analyst team, please contact the Mintel Press Office at press@mintel.com.

*Special occasions describe important times, events, ceremonies or celebrations that are not related to religious days and are often not national holidays. Examples include birthdays, anniversaries or other personal memorable occasions for individuals.

Festive occasions are days of cultural/religious significance, such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Thai New Year (known as Songkran) or Chinese New Year (CNY). These days are often, but not necessarily, national holidays.

For the purpose of this press release and Mintel research, festive/special occasions, also interchangeably called holidays, do not include personal vacations.

**1,500 Thai internet users aged 18+, December 2022

Additional research on Thai consumer attitudes towards festive/special occasions and interviews with the analyst are available upon request from the Mintel Press Office. For those interested in purchasing the full report, please visit the Mintel Store.

Wilasinee (Kaimook) Siriboonpipattana
Wilasinee (Kaimook) Siriboonpipattana

Senior Lifestyle Analyst, Thailand

Kaimook has a doctorate in Neuroscience. Based in Bangkok, she writes Lifestyle Reports on Thai consumers’ behaviour (eg what the key trends are and how they have shifted). She likes to use neuromarketing research knowledge in her analysis to determine what consumers want and why.

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