Habits change in Vietnam

08 July 2011

HO CHI MINH CITY: Consumers in Vietnam, widely regarded as a key future market, are adopting a range of new purchase habits, a study has revealed.

Nielsen, the insights provider, assessed the attitudes and behaviours of shoppers from the country's leading cities – Can Tho, Da Nang, Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City.

It reported 87% of adults interviewed would readily consider buying items available on promotion, ahead of the 68% figure posted across Asia as a whole.

Similarly, 56% of the Vietnamese panel admitted they positively attempted to seek out good deals when in stores, beating the 38% total registered on a regional basis.

Elsewhere, over 50% expressed a willingness to switch from their regular brand of soft drink or snacks if a competing product was cheaper or on special offer.

Loyalty levels tended to be most pronounced in categories such as alcohol, dairy and personal care, the research stated.

When describing their approach towards shopping, 35% of Nielsen's cohort normally "walk up and down the aisles and pick the items they want".

This can be measured against the 8% generally preferring to "grab and go" rather than browsing shelves and selecting the best offering.

Inflation constitutes one core factor behind this trend, and 60% of customers in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City agreed their purchasing power had fallen as a consequence.

Current coping strategies include cutting back on eating out or travelling purely for leisure.

Moreover, the number of stores frequented and amount of goods purchased on trips have also declined, with customers also moving to bigger pack sizes in sectors like laundry and shampoo.

"Inflation and devaluations of the dong have had a very tangible effect on the average Vietnamese shopper, and is prompting them to change their behavior as they seek out value," Darin Williams, managing director, Nielsen Vietnam, said.

"Those stores and brands that find the right combination of convenience, value and quality will be better able to ride out this challenging environment."

Markets remain the most popular channel to buy fresh food, while supermarkets and grocery stores hold a primary position for snacks, personal care and dairy goods, the study added.

Vietnam has been named among two core groups of fast-growing emerging economies, in the form of the CIVETS and the Next 11.

Data sourced from Bernama; additional content by Warc staff