HANOI: Vietnamese consumers are earning and spending more than ever before and are among the most optimistic globally according to a report from Nielsen, which describes Vietnam as a land of opportunity.

The researcher's study, Vietnam Consumer Landscape 2015, highlighted a 44% increase in monthly per capita income between 2010 and 2012 while consumption had risen by 32%.

It further noted the number of middle-class consumers was set to almost treble, from 12m in 2014 to 33m in 2020.

These changes are driving an altered outlook, VietNam News reported, with most people expecting a better life than before. Almost three quarters (73%) of consumers polled said they were willing to pay more for higher quality as well as health; four in ten (39%) indicated that health was their top concern.

That was not quite reflected in savings priorities, however, as health (12%) featured some way behind children's futures (34%).

When it comes to spending, traditional outlets continue to dominate the retail sector, Nielsen said; 1.3m such outlets account for more than 80% of consumer goods sales.

But modern retail outlets are starting to make their presence felt: the number of convenience stores more than doubled to 348 between 2012 and 2014, while the number of mini-marts increased to 600.

Separately, the Financial Times has noted regional players entering the market or expanding their presence through takeovers or store openings.

"Existing foreign-invested retailers still account for barely 5% of nationwide retail, but they are the fastest-growing," it said earlier this year.

Young people and professionals are the main users of modern retail outlets, according to Nielsen, with 23% of students and 36% of white-collar workers/professionals often shopping at supermarkets and convenience stores.

And online shopping is growing in popularity: 28% of consumers prefer to shop online for home delivery, the report said.

Data sourced from VietNam News; additional content by Warc staff