The last year made a lot of changes in course and direction, drastic hit to the economy brought many opportunities, and made business forcefully adapt to the current situations.
Following up all this, the highlights of 2020 wasn’t only the pandemic but also the great dimensional change it brought into the digital world. Focusing on changes that occur in countries in Asia, here are a few cogent areas of significance.
The Cashless economy
Thailand taking a lead has greatly improved in the use of cashless transactions for consumers. There are now more advanced digital platforms that ensure the transfer of money within the country. These ensured that there was lesser contact to help curb the transmission of the virus.
The government initiated a platform for money transfer referred to as PromptPay. It was launched in the year 2017, and registration has increased to more than 50 million before the end of September that year and has grown to about 11 percent at the end of the year 2019 according to the report obtained from the bank of Thailand.
The transactions on PromptPay hit about 3.6 billion within nine months of 2020, the amount as compared with the transactions of 2019 and a difference of about 1 billion increase was found and it is worth 1.4 trillion baht. Further research shows that daily transactions are more than 15 million which rose from about 9 million in 2019.
The total registered users of PromptPay that are active was observed to be at a value of 145 billion baht. The record shows that popular transactions on PromptPay are mostly consumer money transfers and the QR code payments from consumers to business; mostly through the financial system for Thai online casinos.
The rise in using QR codes for payments brought a lot of a co-payment scheme that ensures that registered people can pay for food, drinks, and other things in small shops using the Pao Tang app. The second phase of registration was scheduled to happen between January and March 2021.
The co-president of the top mobile banking service confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the massive growth of digital platforms in the year 2020 with promises of even further growth in 2021.
This sector was affected positively by the pandemic because of the lockdown in countries across the world. Online shopping became a go-to for every family throughout the pandemic. The e-commerce market in Asia was expected to have a growth of over 35%, according to an online e-commerce website, Priceza a total of 220 billion dollars was predicted as diverted revenue to e-commerce.
The situation urged a lot of business platforms to engage more in e-commerce to sell their products and services. Small businesses and brands are waking up to the urgency of owning an online store. With more than 80% forced to own one form of an online store or the other with physical stores close.
E-commerce platforms like Shopee and Lazada are permitting brands to open stores with them. The various online shopping experiences are seen as many are showing their products on social media like TikTok and Instagram.
Brands are also leveraging Facebook live streams for consumers to see and purchase their goods as seen.
Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce site is taking charge of bringing products into the Asian market and also markets overseas.
Working From Home
2020 brought about remote working for a lot of companies and according to a report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, it was discovered that about 29% of jobs could be completed from home.
Offices in Bangkok, couldn’t risk sending their workers home because of operations that couldn’t be done with an internet connection. Some offices even made sure their staff came into the office because of the limitations of the work from home.
Bigger companies like True Digital and Unilever Thailand permitted their workers to work from home but smaller companies risked asking their workers to come into the company. Unilever was able to create a shift and distribute duties on the trend of e-commerce platforms to ensure their customers are satisfied.
Examples of startups in Thailand such as Eko could implement the work from home in the employment application presented to employees. There was a growth of about 200 percent on the yearly sales while it was calculated in the first half of 2020.
A study of the workers in the industry showed that there was a preference in working from home as over 70 percent of workers want to start working remotely and more than 20 percent want to return to the office space for work.
Some companies intend to continue the work-from-home trend and most Asian governments also see it as an opportunity to reduce the rate of air pollution.