HO CHI MINH CITY: Facebook is the number one channel for Vietnamese youth seeking information about brands, recent research has revealed, as social media becomes the country's top smartphone activity.

A study by OMD and Epinion, reported in Campaign Asia-Pacific, investigated the social media and mobile phone habits of 13 -21 year olds in Vietnam.

Recommendations from friends shared on Facebook was the top source of brand information for 64% of young Vietnamese consumers. Facebook content from brands they followed were an important source of information for 52% of those surveyed.

Since the loosening of a government ban, Facebook has become the most popular social network in Vietnam with more than 30m users, up from 8.5m three years ago. Facebook Messenger is second most popular.

Social media is the number one activity for more than 80% of mobile phone users under 25 according to the Smartphone Usage in Vietnam report released by DI Marketing. Statistics from We Are Social estimate that more than 26m Vietnamese consumers across all demographics are now using their phone to access social media.

Vietnam's rapid modernization has built a generation of digital natives, making it the third-fastest-growing smartphone market in the world and the fastest in Asia, according to eMarketer, with 24.3% audience growth forecast for 2015.

It projects that the number of smartphone users in Vietnam could grow to 35.2m by 2019, up from 20.7m this year.

Nine in 10 Vietnamese internet users now use a smartphone, and one-third of all time online is via a mobile phone, up from nearly zero in 2010.

Brands are beginning to see the positive effects: Vietnamese government agencies forecast the market for e-commerce will generate revenue of $4bn this year compared with $700m in 2012.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific, VietnamNet, eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff