HO CHI MINH CITY: Almost half of Vietnamese consumers expect their financial situation to improve in the coming year according to a new report which also says the country has the fastest growing middle-class in the Asia-Pacific region.

A survey, jointly conducted by Australia-New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and Australian market research firm Roy Morgan, examined consumer confidence in Vietnam as part of an ongoing project to develop a monthly confidence index in every country in the region.

Some 48% of those surveyed expected their family financial situation would get better in the next year; just 8% said it would get worse.

Tareq Muhmood, General Director of ANZ Vietnam, noted an annual increase in per capita income of around 10% and added that economic growth would boost in investment in the local economy in the future.

The survey also indicated that the country's fast-growing middle class is adding around 2m to its numbers every year. Vietnam's consumer demographic differs from other countries in the region as most are young and tech-savvy. One third of the 90m population is under the age of 20, which, Muhmood suggested to Tuoi Tre News, was a solid foundation for the development of individual consumer segments in the future.

International retailers are already moving to capitalise on these trends, establishing a presence in Ho Chi Minh City and, according to VietNamNet Bridge, "turning it into a drink, fast food and fashion hub in the region".

It highlighted the fact that 13 international brands, ranging from Korean cinema chain CGV to US coffee chain Starbucks, had leased more than half the retail space in a major new mall.

Starbucks plans to have a total of eight stores in the country by the end of the third quarter, while quick service restaurant McDonald's is currently laying plans for a fourth outlet. Ice-cream chain Baskin Robbins is ahead of both, having opened its 20th shop in the second quarter.

Data sourced from Tuoi Tre News, VietNamNet Bridge; additional content by Warc staff