Consumer demand will improve significantly near the end of the year due to the government's large cash handout

Firms should expect a strong increase in spending on non-durable goods due to the scheme

B2C firms in Thailand can anticipate a boost in consumer spending among low- and middle-income consumers from Q4 2024 to Q1 2025 due to the government’s large cash handout. To take advantage of the likely improvement in consumer purchasing power, local teams should focus on optimizing their sales and marketing strategies during this period. Firms supplying to convenience stores, supermarkets, and hypermarkets should expect to see the most direct benefit from this program, as the majority of the cash assistance is projected to be spent in these retail outlets. Firms should also work closely with their distributors, especially those serving small mom-and-pop shops, to mitigate any potential disruptions in the supply chain and avoid delays, as the increased consumer demand may strain their capabilities to serve customers promptly.


  • On April 23, Thailand’s cabinet approved a THB 500 billion (US$ 13.5 billion) digital wallet handout program.
  • Through this initiative, 50 million Thai citizens (70% of the total population) will receive THB 10,000 (US$ 270) each to spend in their local communities over a six-month period starting from Q4 2024.
  • Beneficiaries of the program will be able to use the funds to purchase food and other consumer goods from registered shops in their district. Notably, buying alcohol, cigarettes, fuel, services, and making online purchases will not be permitted under the scheme.
  • The program is aimed at adults who earn no more than THB 70,000 (US$ 1,890) per month and have less than THB 500,000 (US$ 13,500) in their bank accounts.
  • THB 175 billion (US$ 4.7 billion) of the funding for the scheme will come from the 2024 budget while another THB 152.7 billion (US$ 4.1 billion) will come from the 2025 budget. The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives will contribute the remaining THB 172.3 billion (US$ 4.7 billion) for the program with funding from a government loan.

Our View

The digital cash handout program is viewed by the government as a key policy to stimulate economic growth, which has been sluggish since 2023. Given the substantial size of the handout, it is anticipated to significantly boost consumer spending among low- and middle-income consumers from Q4 2024 to Q1 2025. This increased spending is expected to have ripple effects on investment and job creation during this period as well. While overall spending is projected to increase, the cash handout is likely to have a greater impact on demand for non-durable goods as opposed to durable goods. Spending on high-value items like cars, which has been constrained by high household debt, is anticipated to see only marginal improvement. The government expanded the budget deficit target for 2025 by US$ 4.2 billion to fund this program, so it is unlikely to weigh noticeably on spending in other sectors under the budget next year.

While this stimulus package will provide a short-term boost to spending and overall economic growth in 2024 and 2025, it is unlikely to have a long-term positive impact on the Thai economy. The program is set to drive a 2–3 percentage point increase in government debt (as a % of GDP), which was around 61% as of 2022. The additional debt should be manageable, but it will likely raise investor concerns about the government’s fiscal rectitude and may create headwinds to long-term spending, particularly if the government implements similar programs in the future.

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