Consumer goods to Thailand

Trends and opportunities

The market

The personal care and personal effects sector is one of the more prominent in Thailand, with demand increasing from a population entering higher paying service sectors within cities and becoming increasingly image-conscious; the rise of Thai women entering the workforce with enhanced discretionary spending ability, and a large, buoyant tourism sector.

Thai spending on personal care and personal effects is forecasted to rise from THB 489.8 billion ($A 19.2b) in 2017 to THB 648 billion (A$ 25.4b) in 2021. This 7.3 per cent per year growth is the fastest of any household spending category in the region. (Source: BMI Research, Thailand Consumer & Retail Report Q4 2017 , September 2017 )

The retail market is fiercely competitive but is still regarded as unsaturated, presenting strong potential for growth. And despite high income disparity within Thailand’s 67 million population, the country remains attractive for many international players.


The rise of online platforms and prominent advertising within metropolitan areas is exposing Thai consumers to international beauty and grooming trends, leading to increased awareness of products. Although Korean and Japanese beauty trends and innovation still prevails in the market, Australian brand equity is considered high to local consumers as they perceive Australia as the country of clean and green products.

Additionally, the demand for “premiumisation” or high-quality products with more natural ingredients has been growing in Thailand as a number of consumers perceive they are safe and gentle to their skin.

Growing areas in this sector which Australian companies may also wish to explore include:

  • herbal, natural and organic products with multifunctional benefits
  • dermocosmetics
  • anti-ageing solutions
  • senior wellbeing products
  • maternity and baby care products

FTA gains for Australian exporters

The Thailand Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) and ASEAN Australia and New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) have eliminated most import tariffs on beauty goods and vitamins imported from Australia to Thailand. Claiming preferential treatment under Free Trade Agreements to Thailand requires goods be accompanied by Certificates of Origin.

Marketing your products and services

Market entry

Establishing a wholly owned presence in the market is difficult.

Retail comes under ‘List 3’ of business types where restrictions exist on foreign business ownership. These lists outline a wide range of business types where it is considered ‘Thai nationals are not yet ready to compete with foreigners’, and the intent is entirely designed to protect local business interests, from retail through to services. Please refer to guidance on the Thai Board of Investments website.

To be successful in the market:

  • Engage with multi-brand retailers to establish an in-store presence
  • Engage a local partner or agent to support administration and marketing. Cosmetics and a number of personal care products are required to obtain a certificate from the Thai Food and Drug Administration. This task is usually carried out by the importer
  • Consider franchising: the large retail conglomerates hold several master franchises of international brands
  • Familiarise yourself with local preferences with regard to the look, feel and acceptable price points for your products
  • Participate in local and regional trade shows to meet local buyers and get brand exposure
  • Develop in-country marketing activities, especially digital marketing to create awareness to engage with your target audience.

Distribution channels

e-Commerce platforms and the emergence of multi-brand retail chains is changing the way Thais source personal care and beauty products.

Thailand is a very digital- saavy market and Thais are significant and growing users of social media and online shopping platforms.

For Australian suppliers, the e-Commerce market is considered a ‘developing opportunity’. In-market fulfilment remains a challenge for small foreign companies, and cash on delivery remains the preferred payment method in Thailand, however warehousing, logistics and payment systems are improving.

Multi-branded retail chains have also emerged quickly. These stores, usually located within shopping centres, hypermarkets or department stores include names such as Sephora, Eve & Boy, Stardust, Beauty Club and Beautrium. These offer consumers ‘high value’ in-store service and experience. It is likely more local and international brands plus new affordable products will be available through this channel especially in skin care and colour cosmetic ranges. (Source: Euromonitor, Beauty and Personal Care in Thailand , May 2017)

Links and industry contacts

Please note: this list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only.

Contact details

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Working in partnership with Australian state and territory governments, Austrade provides information and advice that can help Australian companies reduce the time, cost and risk of exporting. We also administer the Export Market Development Grant Scheme and offer a range of services to Australian exporters in growth and emerging markets.