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Thailand’s Ban on Buying and Selling of Alcohol Online Becomes Reality

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The Thai Police held a press conference to announce the new law that prohibits the sale of alcohol online or via digital channels in Thailand.

“From Monday, Dec 7, the sale and advertisement of alcoholic beverages online will be prohibited,” deputy police spokesman Pol Colonel Siriwat Deephor said. “Direct selling, persuading consumers, introducing products or other related services via digital channels that enable sellers to complete a sale without meeting the buyer face to face will be banned.”

This prohibition, however, does not include paying for alcoholic beverages via electronic methods at stores, restaurants or establishments that serve alcohol in Thailand.

“Violators face up to six months in prison and/or Bt10,000 (S$442) in fines,” Siriwat added.

Dr Niphon Chinanonwet, director of the Department of Disease Control’s Alcohol Control Committee, said these controls are being introduced because it is difficult to check if the sale of alcohol online is in compliance with legal limits, such as age, in line with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act.

“This prohibition applies to all retailers and wholesalers, regardless of the size of company,” he said. “This law is not a ploy to cut off sales channels for small businesses as some say.”

Alcohol sales forecast to fall 8%

Meanwhile, the beverage alcohol market has shown ‘greater resilience’ than initially expected in 2020, but total sales are expected to decline by 8% this year, according to new forecasts from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

WSR forecast total global alcohol consumption would experience double-digit declines in 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and that it would take until at least 2024 for the industry to recover to pre-crisis levels.

IWSR has analyzed beverage alcohol consumption in 19 key global markets and the global travel retail channel, representing more than 75% of total global alcohol consumption combined. The key markets reviewed were Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the UK, the US and global travel retail.

Mark Meek, CEO of IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, said: “Given the incredibly tough measures the industry has continued to face due to Covid-19, it’s encouraging to see that beverage alcohol in the 19 focus countries is only projected to decline by 8% in 2020, rather than by the double-digit losses originally expected.

“We may see that recover even faster now, given the recent news on encouraging vaccine trials. The rise of e-commerce and the efforts by retailers and on-premise operators to adapt to this crisis, coupled with consumers expanding to new occasions, created a dynamic, albeit challenging, new environment for beverage alcohol” Meek Said.

Global travel retail is expected to see volume consumption down 68% in 2020.

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