Rahul Sachitanand
Aug 10, 2020

Thailand's Top 100 Brands: Keeping pace with shifting consumer sentiment

ASIA'S TOP 1000 BRANDS: Despite a relatively stable top 10, churn is evident in sectors ranging from mobile services to aviation and dental care.

Thailand's Top 100 Brands: Keeping pace with shifting consumer sentiment

THAILAND'S TOP 100 BRANDS: RANKING ANALYSIS

While Thailand's top four brands (Samsung, Apple, Panasonic, Chanel) are unchanged for a second year, there is intriguing congruence and divergence up and down the top 100 brands in Thailand, part of our Asia's Top 1000 Brands research for 2020.  

A closer examination of the top 100 shows that In telecom services, for instance, AIS, the country’s largest mobile operator tumbled 16 places to fall out of the top 10, down to 25th place. The telecom brand, a Singtel associate, was hit hard in January when a Thai court fined it $1.37 billion in a trade dispute. In contrast, competitor True Move, shot up from 131 to 57, as the firm launched its 5G services in March this year.  

Similarly, other segments saw fluctuations too—Kerry Logistics was down 25 places in the rankings to 72nd place, even as global giant DHL leapfrogged from 220 to 145. The latter has had a busy past couple of years, culminating in the launch of an ecommerce partnership with Thailand Post in May. 

Thai consumers seemed to think differently about large Japanese brands too. In the top 10, Panasonic held its place at No. 3, but Sony slipped two places from 5 to 7, while further down, Mitsubishi fell 26 places to 49 and Bridgestone dropped 16 notches to 92. 

The big drop

Brand 2019 ranking 2020 ranking Fall
AIS 9 25 -16
Colgate 19 37 -18
Mitsubishi 23 49 -26
Youtube 25 36 -11
Pepsi 37 50 -13
Malee 41 79 -38
Kerry Express 47 72 -25
American International Assurance (AIA) 48 58 -10
Minere 54 64 -10
Makro 55 69 -14
Sony Playstation 56 73 -17
Johnson & Johnson 58 70 -12
Foremost 61 83 -22
Lay's 62 88 -26
Aura 63 84 -21
Dove 65 90 -25
Cafe Amazon 66 85 -19
Bridgestone 76 92 -16
Zara 78 112 -34
Thai Life Insurance 84 97 -13
Thai Post 85 96 -11
L'Oreal 86 103 -17
Dentyne 89 100 -11
Amazon 90 104 -14
Johnnie Walker 92 105 -13
ALL THAI TAXI 95 107 -12
Oral B 99 178 -79

The divergence and convergence of brands is reflective of a competitive market, epsecially in markets such as telecom services, fashion and food and beverages. Leading the divergence among competitors is Nike, the premium sportswear label, which managed to advance in a tough market, moving up from 6th to 5th as rival Reebok’s tumbled down the ranking from 104 to 132. In the foods and beverages space, Pepsi fell from 37 to 50th, while Coca Cola went up five places from 29 to 24th. Similarly, in the retail drugstore space, Watsons has fallen, while British chain Boots has climbed in this listing.

Nike is opening its largest flagship store in south east Asia in Bangkok


But some categories managed to rise and fall in unison. For example, in the case of luxury, Chanel held its place at fourth spot, alongside high-end labels Armani, Christian Dior, Gucci and Louis Vuitton which also made their way up this pecking order. Similarly, in instant messaging, Line shot up to eighth place in 2020, driving growth in this space, leaving Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger (who made some gains of their own) well behind.

The dental care space saw three key players, Colgate and Oral B fall sharply, with controversial Darlie too slipping nearly 20 places. Brands in the beauty and cosmetics space also seemed to get mixed reviews from Thai consumers. For example, French giant L’Oreal scrambled back into the top 100 this year compared to 103rd place in 2019, but fast-rising Japanese label Shiseido seemed to struggle for traction, falling from 111 to 136th rank this year.

One category that has struggled is aviation and Thai consumers too voted down brands across this market. Over the last couple of years, brands ranging from Thai, to Air Asia and Nok had all been flying high but dropped to a much lower altitude this year. With many of these airlines largely grounded in the pandemic, their fortunes aren’t likely to rise in the near future.

As the pandemic started to take hold in Thailand and globally, consumers’ interest in out-of-home experiences seem to have fallen. Restaurant chains such as Makro, Café Amazon, MK Suki and even Starbucks have seen a fall in their ranking, from 55 to 69, 66 to 85, 49 to 56 and 12 to 13 respectively. The antipathy to food seems to extend to packaged foods too with Oreo, Maggi and home grown Malee all seeing their rankings fall.

Meanwhile, in financial services, Siam Commercial Bank shot into the top 100, to 75th place, from 101 last year. While this bank benefitted from expanding its business overseas and a tie-up with Sea Group to push its digital lending plans, other banks such as Kasikorn stayed flat (same rank No. 74 as last year) and Bangok Bank (105 to 157) went backwards. Online payments platforms such as Paypal too struggled, with its ranking falling from 38 to 40.

While Thai consumers may be blurring local and global brands in their assessment, some segments have seen homegrown upstarts making a telling impact. One such space is apparel, where Zara, the Spanish apparel firm, whose position has dropped 34 places in this year’s rankings even as the unheralded (and homespun) GQ has landed up at No. 136—out of the blue—thanks to its rapid pivot from fashion to hip masks.

“The local brand, GQ, has used their masks to establish themselves as trendsetters and drive the perception that they are really innovative,” says Suwitta Chotverasatanon, general manager, McCann Worldgroup Thailand. “They continuously release their masks styled for different consumer groups and occasions (and) last year they did a rebranding campaign, which really raised their profile with consumers.”

Editor's note: This article has been edited following its initial publication. One source's comments have been removed.

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