Vietnam: Online shopping grows by 300 percent

Ho Chi Minh City – Online shopping in Vietnam is winning in popularity. In a recent report released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s E-Commerce and Information Technology Agency (VECITA) it was stated that the total sales of the e-commerce sector soared to 2.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, a growth rate of 300 percent compared to that in 2012. The value is estimated to hit 4 billion U.S. dollars by 2015.

The agency also pointed out that 36 percent of the country’s total population of more than 90 million are Internet users, with the percentage expected to reach 45 percent by 2015. “I’ve got used to online shopping for more than 10 years, including five years when I studied in the United States and right now since I have returned home,” 25-year-old Linh Nguyen, an E- marketing officer of an information technology company in Hanoi, pointed out.

Linh said that when he shops through American websites, such as, he paid with his credit cards, but when purchasing on the Vietnamese websites, he pays in cash.

VECITA’s report on online consumers’ preferences in paying their purchases showed that 74 percent of the survey respondents said they would prefer to pay in cash, 41 percent would use wire transfers, and 8 percent would pay via e-commerce websites.

Those who preferred paying through e-commerce websites accounted for 61 percent of online transactions made through the seller’s sites. Group-purchase sites followed as the next most trustworthy mode of payment, with 51 percent of deals completed via this method.

Social networks and e-commerce trading floors followed, accounting for 45 percent, and 19 percent of payments made by respondents.

Nguyen Thi Kim, 58, a retired primary teacher in Go Vap District of southern Ho Chi Minh City, said that she has purchased things for her five-member family through e-commerce websites for a couple of years. Her purchases included books, clothes, household utensils, travel tickets, cosmetics and milk products.

Kim said she selected three or four creditable websites for her online shopping, from which she found the needed items and compared prices set by each site before she made an order from them. “When the shop’s employee deliver the items to my house, I check the quality of the products first before paying in cash. If the quality is not the same as those set online, I will phone the shop ‘s manager to correct the problem, otherwise I will not buy them,” Kim said.

Among online shoppers, women accounted for 59 percent, office managers and employees 41 percent, and students 37 percent, according to VECITA.

VECITA said that e-commerce in Vietnam will certainly further develop because 92 percent of its surveyed respondents said they were regular Internet users. In addition, mobile phones and laptops also remained the primary means of Internet access in major cities in Vietnam.

According to Nguyen Dac Viet Dung, owner of, an e- trading floor, Vietnam has great potentials for e-commerce development. “We obtained a high growth rate of over 50 percent during the first two months of 2014. We deliver goods to customers in 53 out of 63 provinces and cities across Vietnam, which shows that shopping online has become a habit of many Vietnamese purchasers,” Dung told the local media here.

But while e-commerce has seen significant growth, quite a few Vietnamese consumers are not completely convinced of the benefits of using e-commerce sites, saying that there are still a number of risks and problems for users. “Many customers do not believe much in online shopping. They feel that their rights will not be fully protected or that their personal information could be compromised,” Nguyen Thanh Hung, vice chairman of the Vietnam E-commerce Association (VECA), said.

About 59 percent of VECITA’s surveyed respondents said it was difficult to assess the quality of online products, while 41 percent considered sellers untrustworthy, 38 percent said information about the products were insufficient; and 37 percent said that they did not use their credit cards or other bank accounts. Only 5 percent of online buyers were satisfied with the overall quality of e-commerce sites, the survey showed.

Although online payment has become easier due to stronger cooperation between websites and banks, they are still not the norm in Vietnam. Most firms collect payment on delivery.

E-commerce will expand more rapidly only if some of the existing barriers, technical and mental, are removed, said one VECA official. Source: Xinhua