The survey showed that 71% of Thai teenagers aged between 15 and 16 years of age experienced anxiety at the thought of being denied internet access, a rise from 65% in 2020. The 2021 survey also showed Thai adults were using the internet this year more productively and for work purposes. It comes as Google Thailand’s Mike Jittiwanich has revealed a rise in quality content being uploaded by a range of new outlets to YouTube with a 70% rise in hours viewed.

A new survey of online habits in Thailand shows that while a staggering 85.1% of Thai adults use the internet from 6 to 8 hours a day, there has been a shift offline by adults aged 55 to 74 years of age. This has happened since 2020 as the COVID-19 virus crisis deepened in the country.

The latest update of the Thai Digital Outlook Survey linked with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that 85.1% of the adult population in Thailand uses the internet for 6 to 8 hours a day while Google Thailand’s Mike Jittiwanich has revealed a 70% rise in hours watched on YouTube with a sharp rise also in quality content being uploaded to the service in Thailand.

A survey carried out by the Digital Economy and Society Ministry and the National Digital Economy and Society Commission has shown that Thailand fares quite well in terms both of its digital infrastructure and beneficial use of the internet on a day to day basis by the population with a rise in online transactions and purposeful activity.

The third phase of the Thai Digital Outlook Survey linked with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) produced a surprise finding, however.

This is that older people from 55 to 74 years of age have reduced their access to the internet in the last year as the COVID-19 crisis in Thailand has deepened.

Older folk turning back to TV as the main media choice with less 55 to 74-year-olds going online

The survey’s finding in respect of the older population also coincides with research from media firms since 2020 which shows some resurgence in the consumption of traditional media led by terrestrial TV since the pandemic emergency in Thailand began.

In the same period, serious concern has been raised by authorities and the Royal Thai Police about online fake news in the kingdom where the sharing, distribution or even liking of false stories online can lead to serious jail terms, even where this occurs inadvertently through the enforcement of the country’s draconian Computer Crime Act of 2007.

Police: truthful reporting not a target as a state official is arrested over false online coup reports in Chachoengsao

This year, a Thai court struck down a revised government order under the Emergency Decree which sought to constrain the media from reporting facts particularly relating to the COVID-19 crisis which might cause panic even where such reports were truthfully founded.

Ad spend for terrestrial TV has been preserved since the crisis began in 2020 as YouTube booms

The short term move back towards TV viewing at home by older audiences in Thailand has helped to preserve TV’s advertising revenue even as media expenditure gradually moves online.

Ad spends predicted to dive by 2.7% in 2021 driven by extended virus-induced economic disruption

The new data comes alongside research information released by Mr Mike Jittiwanich, the Head of Google (Thailand), who has revealed that YouTube in Thailand has seen a massive 70% increase in the number of hours viewed by Thai TV audiences just in the last year.

More online content is being uploaded from Thailand including documentaries and financial news exposés

This has also been accompanied by a surge in content creation with new publishing entities and media outlets emerging that are producing highly creative and quality content aimed at specific audiences.

This includes the production of online news and documentaries with a special interest in online news content focused on financial stories and exposés.

‘This year, the content that Thai people spend more time watching. The highest growth was the financial video category, up more than 100% compared to the same period last year followed by video karaoke. Watch time increased by 70%, agricultural and exercise content increased by 50%, the same 50%, and documentary content increased by 45%,’ he explained.

Third phase of the Digital Outlook Survey from 2020 to 2021 shows 85.1% of adults use the internet for 6 to 10 hours a day in Thailand, more emphasis on work

The results of the third phase of the Digital Outlook Survey, while it showed reduced access to the internet for 55 to 74-year-olds at 48%, showed a strong performance by Thailand compared to international norms as surveyed by the OECD.

The results of the survey were presented by Mr Tawicha Trakulyingyong and showed that a staggering 85.1% of Thai adults used the internet for between 6 to 10 hours each day.

The latest research, however, shows that Thai people are beginning to use the internet more productively with a marked switch in 2021 from entertainment and lightweight content towards such activities as studying, chat and conversation combined with work-related tasks.

Thai people have confidence in online payments

Only 5.4% of the Thai population expressed concern about making payments online as Thailand’s banking system has progressed with advanced applications now being the norm which can transfer funds instantly from one account to another without waiting a working day as is the case in many western countries.

By comparison, the OECD norm for concern about online payments was 28%, a multiple of over 5 compared to Thailand.

Thai consumers are using the internet for the full spectrum of household payments and financial tasks from payments of water and electricity bills to banking transactions and tax returns.

The Thai average was 61% of the population for such services which was only marginally ahead of the world average as measured by the OECD at 60.7%.

Teenagers experience anxiety over internet access

Medical studies have been brought forward in recent years linking prolonged internet usage to psychiatric problems such as depression, particularly among younger adults, teenagers or children while on the other hand, other studies such as one in Poland, have shown the internet to have beneficial health impacts on older people who may otherwise feel marginalised.

The third phase of the Thai study gave some indication of the former when it revealed that 71% of Thai teenagers aged 15 to 16 years of age worry about not being able to access the internet, a rise from 65% the year before in 2020.

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Further reading:

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