HANOI: Companies can no longer ignore mobile e-commerce as a retail channel in Vietnam because more and more consumers are using their mobile devices to shop, according to a leading analyst at research firm Nielsen.

Speaking at last week's Vietnam Mobile Day 2016 event in Hanoi, Dang Thuy Ha, Director of Consumer Insights at Nielsen, pointed to data that showed smartphone users now account for 70% of Vietnam's urban population and 40% of its rural residents.

The proportion of those using their phones to shop surpassed 20% in 2015 and she revealed that these consumers are more likely to search for brands instead of product types, VietnamNet reported.

Furthermore, the Nielsen research found particular categories, such as food, are more likely to be purchased via mobile rather than from a laptop.

Of particular note for brands and online retailers, she revealed that Vietnamese online consumers are particularly attracted to special offers, such as discounts and coupons, as well as best-selling items.

"Besides creating trust in your customers by selling exactly what you advertise, you have to understand customers and their behaviour," she said. "What products do they need? And through what channels do they approach you?"

Reinforcing the data from Nielsen, the government's Vietnam E-commerce and Information Technology Agency (VECITA), also issued its own finding that 40% of orders placed during the last Online Friday shopping event came via mobile phones.

VECITA said it expected that proportion to continue to grow as the price of devices comes down, as 3G and 4G connectivity becomes more available, and as mobile payment and logistics develop further.

Nguyen Huu Tuan, head of the office of e-commerce management at VECITA, said the organisation has a strategic plan to grow e-commerce over the next four years which will see businesses in each locality receiving specific support programmes.

"There will be training and information sessions on e-commerce and support for companies to build their websites," he promised.

Data sourced from VietnamNet; additional content by Warc staff