The perception to others when they look at us expats living in Thailand is that in some way we are all living the dream. Always out on the beach, traveling and just living the times of our lives, but – and you know where I am going here – is it true?

Thaivisa recently carried a survey among expats living in Thailand and over 1,400 Western Expats replied, so an interesting sample number. One of the questions asked if they used Facebook, You Tube and Netflix on a weekly basis and the results gave us some insight into how us expats fill our free time. It also gave us data that we could compare with our fellow Westerners back home, well in this case I just chose the UK as the bench mark comparison.

Over the last decade our trusty smart phone has become more important to us than the television, and this dependency has also helped fuel the growth of services like Facebook, You Tube and Netflix. Globally Facebook has over 2 billion users with You Tube now chomping on its heels with 1.8 billion users. Netflix is driving the growth in on demand television with over 117 million subscribers.

Facebook – Expats Vs. UK

With less than 3% between expat and our UK counterparts it’s nigh on neck and neck at 75% (UK) vs. 78% (expat). Facebook is getting a reputation for being an older users social network, after all as one analyst put it ‘who wants to party in the same nightclub as their parents?’, so we cannot really use the age argument in any real manner to try and critique the two figures. What we can say is both figures show a high level of Facebook use among both groups. A recent study published in the UK showed 99% of those under 30 years old use a social network, to just bring home the role of social networks on lifestyles.

You Tube – Expats Vs. UK


As with Facebook, the two sets of data were not far off each other. With the UK showing slightly higher usage with 77% of the population versus 72% of expats. Perhaps with an aging expat in Thailand this figure was a little lower due to regular TV still being the choice platform, without further information it is difficult to dissect properly.

Netflix – Expats Vs. UK


Expats edges the UK, based on these statistics, with 31% subscribing to Netflix versus 27% in the UK. In the UK they have far more viewing options that cater for Western tastes so perhaps it’s not surprising Expats are a little higher.
Netflix is a comparatively new comer to Thailand though, launching in 2016, the UK had a 4 year head start launching back in 2012. This makes the Expat subscription figure even more remarkable.

Overall, it would be fair to say in all instances the usage of Facebook, You Tube and Netflix are fairly similar, put another way there was no glaring differences. Perhaps this image of us expats always out and about living the high life is not quite true and we all share doing similar things with our leisure times – glued to a screen, whether a smart phone of television. What a high life we a lead – not so much, ‘where is my sun tan oil and surf board’ but instead more like ‘where is my power cable and head phones for my smart phone’!!


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