11 July 2024

Trends change by the year, with some things in and others out and 2023 will be no exception. Remember, when the SMS was “in” some years ago? Here’s what we predict will be making a splash or quietly bowing out in the next 12 months.

In – cashless

Out – coins and banknotes

Credit where it is due. The government’s “Khon La Khrueng” co-payment scheme has made cashless payment widespread, accelerating it with sellers including street vendors who are learning to accept payment via the scheme. Another reason, on the buyer’s side, is the pandemic which made people afraid of contracting Covid through contaminated coins and banknotes.  A couple of years back, we’d never imagined leaving home without a wallet. Now those pockets can stay empty as long as you have a smartphone with you. Even better, a purchase – no matter how small the amount is – can be done via a number of cashless methods. Credit cards can’t do that 40 or 50 baht payment though.

Cashless society is here and will stay

In: Work from anywhere

Out: Work from home

Working from home was a “forced” trend during Covid, but now many seem to like the practice and see the economic and social benefits of it. Many people also believe that they are more productive working elsewhere. Now, working in a foreign country or a luxury resort is an increasingly common option,  at least in those companies that allow staff to work from anywhere.

In: Messi
Out: Ronaldo

Messi is the king of football at the moment after heroically leading his team to win the World Cup.

In: Tiktok

Out: Facebook

Short videos are what consumers love and Tiktok clicks. Facebook or Meta is now much less popular among the new generation.

In: Thai dessert Ba-bin 

Out: French croissant

We hardly see people queuing for croissants now and this year, we began to see the rise of Thai desserts, especially Babin. Suddenly, Babin shops are mushrooming and every Babin joint has a long line of foodies waiting. [Note: The babin that are sold nowadays are actually pang-jee not ba-bin since they are not baked but cooked in a pan. But sellers as well as customers have mixed the two up and call them babin anyway.]

Babin with young coconut is a favourite dessert. (Photo courtesy of Baan Muang)

In: Secluded bars (Bar Lup in Thai)

Out: Easily accessible bars or bars located at prime spots

In the year to come, you will find going to so-called “bar lup” way trendier than going to any drinking venue located downtown or even in a five-star hotel. In Thai, bar lup is a secret bar but secluded may be a better word in English. Bar lup is a favourite after dark among young people. The irony is that while they are called “bar lup”, customers have no problem finding them.

In: EV cars

Out: Free EV charging stations

EV cars were in a spotlight in 2022 especially after Tesla opened for bookings, further raising awareness about EVs and their benefits. The good news is that Elon Musk’s creations are being offered at quite reasonable prices in Thailand which may “inspire” other brands to adopt competitive prices for their models.. The bad news is that while many business premises such as shopping malls have begim to provide more charging stations,  the honeymoon period is over and a charging fee will be applied.

Tesla booth in Bangkok receives a lot of attentions from the public. (Photo by Kanokchan Patanapichai)

In: Boy Romance series or ‘Series Y’

Out: Series featuring only straight men and women characters

Boy romance still rules when it comes to popular TV series while other dramas also feature relatively more realistic gay men or lesbian characters than comic characters.

In: More realistic relationships in which women are equal to men
Out: Weak heroines who are often bullied and abused

Female characters including the heroines will be sexually equal to men, like the three girls in “Friends” and the storyline of weak heroines will fade from the screen.

In: Cafes & bistros in old buildings

Out: Cafes in shopping malls or office building

Thailand has long been a land of cafés but now, with an excess of coffee shops, the ones that have a “wow” effect are those in fancy old buildings like an old printing shop or an old school. A prime location is not always needed, and often less sexy than an old building with the right concept.

In: Isan-styled raw meat Soi-ju

Out: Yukhoe

The raw beef of Korean Tartare or “Yukhoe” paved the way for Isan’s Soi-ju, a Thai equivalent to the Korean dish. Soi-ju is becoming more popular. The raw meat, cut into bite-size pieces and without any seasoning, is eaten with a well-seasoned sauce containing cow’s bile which gives the bitter taste.

In: e-tickets for shows and concerts

Out: Tickets especially plastic card-styled ones
Collectors will be disappointed but concert tickets will be in your phones. E-tickets will be the norm in the near future.

The fitness and wellness trends to keep everyone fit in 2023

In: Music Festival

Out: Single artist concert

Fans around the world will embrace music festivals and Thais are no exception, think Big Mountain or Wonderfruit. Music lovers now plan their lives according to the schedule of music festivals. Only a few solo artist concerts will be organised.

In: Experience-based trip

Out:  Destination-based trip

Opting for destinations for the sake of “been-there, done-that” will no longer be what serious travellers look for. Now people want new experiences and meaningful interaction on a trip. This trend brings about a new way of discovering many parts of Bangkok and the rest of Thailand too.

In: Voice Search
Out: Text Search

A marketing statistic shows that consumers prefer searching using their voice which is more convenient. In fact, 71% of global consumers prefer to ask Siri or Alexa.

In: Self-help/self-improvement books

out: Travel books

The pandemic made travel books things of the past for almost two years. Data from TK library shows that when it comes to serious reading, self-help and self-improvement are among top rented books. Seems people have taken the pandemic “hibernation” time to improve themselves.

By Veena Thoopkrajae