HO CHI MINH CITY: Vietnamese consumers are changing their behaviour as regards consumption of beverages, eschewing cafes and restaurants for their own homes, according to new research.

Market researcher Kantar Worldpanel observed consumption patterns in the country's four main cities – Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, and Can Tho – over a 12-week period ending in July and found the number of in-home drinking occasions had risen 3.9% year on year while the overall number of out-of-home occasions remained flat.

But there were two particular out-of-home locations, typically more costly, where the number of drinking occasions had slipped – by 12% at coffee shops and by 3% at restaurants, Tuoi Tre News reported.

The study noted that those beverage items that had seen the greatest decline in out-of-home consumption – instant coffee, tonic drinks, energy drinks – were also those that were among the fastest-growing for in-home drinking occasions.

David Anjoubault, general manager, Kantar Worldpanel Vietnam, thought this reflected the economic situation as consumers managed their spending more closely. A switch to drinking at home more frequently, he suggested, "is just one among those reactions".

In one of these segments, the competitive instant coffee market, the Business Times noted that the marketing campaigns of the major players – Nestlé, Trung Nguyen and Vinacafe Bien Hoa – had largely failed to resonate with consumers, while new entrants were preparing to make a splash.

A local branding expert observed that Trung Nguyen had been distracted by its attempts to compete with coffee chains such as Starbucks and had neglected its main instant coffee product. Nestlé had refocused on core products following the failure of a canned coffee product, while Vinacafe Bien Hoa had been quiet after an unsuccessful campaign for "real coffee".

Newcomers include a brand owned by a sweets and consumer goods manufacturer and one from neighbouring Laos, both of which are expected to put increased pressure on established brands.

Data sourced from Tuoi Tre News, Business Times; additional content by Warc staff