Trade Insight October-December 2020

From the trends of non-food products in Canada to consumer behavior in Iran, these are trade insights amid the COVID-19 pandemic you need to know.

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Canada
Non-food retail worth watching after COVID-19 in Canada 

The coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted the retail industry in Canada, causing nearly all businesses to make adjustments in order to survive. The past several weeks has been beset by mass layoffs. Amid the crisis, businesses that can survive are those with a high level of adaptability and pace of change. Previously retailers were aware of the rise of e-commerce but were of an opinion or convinced that they had 3-5 years to make the change. However, the pandemic forced them to adjust quickly, within 3-5 weeks, or risk going out of business. This is a challenge especially for small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) which have limited resources in capital, manpower and digital skills that will allow them to transform. At this time of crisis, adaptability is no longer a matter of choice but has become an inevitable reality. Thai businesses should monitor the situation closely to survive and continue to look for interesting market opportunities. 
– Thai Trade Center, Toronto

People’s Republic of China 
Thai durians doing well in Chinese market 

In the first quarter of 2020, Thailand’s export of fresh durians, excluding frozen durians, (HS Code : 081060), to China amounted to 50,213 tons, an increase of 25.26 percent (YoY), totaling USD 158,171,442 or an increase of 99.21 percent (YoY). This accounted for more than 70 percent of the Thai durian export, making China our top export destination. Meanwhile, exports to other trading partners generally decreased. Considering the amount of fresh durians exported to China coupled with the rising price of fresh durians this year, it can be concluded that the value of durian exports to China still has room to grow. Despite the higher price this year, Thai durian growers and relevant agencies cannot be complacent and should monitor cross-border developments closely. They should also continue to improve the quality of fresh durians to ensure they meet Chinese regulations, and develop new processing methods to add further value to the products. This will ensure that exports can continue at this extremely uncertain time and that Thailand can sustain a sizable share in the Chinese market in the years to come. 
– Thai Trade Center, Qingdao

India 
A look at spending behavior of Indian tourists after COVID-19 

India remains under lockdown following the outbreak of COVID-19. Although it might be a while before Indians can take travel overseas again, a survey shows that Thailand remains one of the top travel destinations for Indian citizens. We can therefore expect a large number of Indian travelers to come and spend in Thailand after the COVID-19 situation improves. Thai entrepreneurs should note how travelers’ spending behavior has changed and build up confidence among tourists by observing good hygiene and incorporating technology, such as by online advertisement, providing e-payment options and offering promotions to target customers, in response to upcoming business opportunities. 
– Thai Trade Center, New Delhi

Iran
How COVID-19 affects consumer behavior in Iran

The coronavirus pandemic has had social, economic and mental impacts and transformed consumer behavior across the globe. In Iran, some products have been taken off the shopping list. People only spend on food and other household necessities. Payments are made via credit card or electronically, as cash is avoided. The prices of devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops have increased as more and more people turn to digital media and online shopping. Additionally, consumers now prefer to buy products that are sealed, labeled, and certified to certain standards, replacing purchases by the weight. Thai entrepreneurs need to be aware of this and ensure their products meet accepted standards and respond to changing consumer needs both in terms of e-commerce platforms and payment channels. 
– Thai Trade Center, Tehran

Japan
Hybrid business [Supermarket X Delivery] on the rise in Japan

With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on consumer livelihoods, logistics startup LOMA has joined hands with Yahoo, AEON Kyushu and EC provider PayPay Dash to form a new business that delivers products available in supermarkets, such as bento boxes, bakery, beverages and desserts, within 30 minutes after an order is placed on a smartphone application. This is a hybrid model, combining the presence of a shop with a storefront and EC. The company has plans to improve service delivery by using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze delivery data so that they can add more product categories and shorten delivery time to 20 minutes. LOMA also accepts orders via telephone and fax to accommodate senior customers who may not be tech-savvy. This is a smart logistics solution that takes into account the needs of consumers of all age groups and caters to them. Thai entrepreneurs can learn from this hybrid model and apply some of its features to their own business. 
– Thai Trade Center, Osaka

United States of America
COVID-19 impacts sales of beer 

While the outbreak of COVID-19 has global consequences, the US is one of the world’s hardest-hit. The US economy contracted in the first quarter and is forecast to shrink even further in the next ones. This has altered consumer behavior in regards to consumption of beer and other products. The lockdown measures imposed in each state forced restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other entertainment venues to suspend operations to curb the spread of the disease. According to the Brewers Association, many small-scale breweries or craft brewers were forced to close up shop in the past few months. This demonstrates how the ongoing situation and economic crisis has forced consumers to cut down and become more careful with their spending. Fans of craft beer, which is more expensive than industrial lagers, have had to buy cheaper beers. This is a new Post-COVID consumer behavior thai Thai entrepreneurs should be aware of when entering the market.
– Thai Trade Center, Miami

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