Low-cost Tet gifts in demand as consumers squeeze budgets

By Thi Ha   January 5, 2024 | 11:00 pm PT
Low-cost Tet gifts in demand as consumers squeeze budgets
Tet gift packs at a Go! supermarket in Go Vap District, HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Thi Ha
Lunar New Year (Tet) gift packs at VND50,000-200,000 (US$2.05-8.20) are in demand this year as they fit nicely with people’s tightened budgets.

During Vietnam’s main national holiday, it is customary to give gifts, usually an assortment of foodstuffs, to relatives and close acquaintances as a symbol of respect and appreciation. Next Tet peaks on Feb. 10, 2024.

Hanh of HCMC’s District 5 says since her income is 40% lower than last year, the budget for gifts is much lower.

"Usually, I would buy Tet gift packs with exquisite designs priced at VND0.5-1 million each. This year I only bought cheap ones ranging from VND150,000-300,000."

Lan Anh, who works at the Linh Trung Export Processing Zone in HCMC’s Thu Duc City, says she only bought five VND100,000 packs for her closest people this year.

Normally she would get a bonus at work equal to one to two months’ wages for Tet, which allowed her to buy expensive gifts.

"This year my Tet bonus has been halved, and so I had to buy gifts only for my siblings and grandparents," she adds with a sigh.

A recent VnExpress survey found that people are preferring affordable gifts for Tet this year.

At a confectionery store on Le Duc Tho Street in HCMC’s Go Vap District, gift packs priced at VND80,000-200,000 make up the majority of the goods on sale.

Pham Huyen, its owner, says she only stocked a few dozen packs costing VND500,000 this year and has not been able to sell many, while cheaper ones are flying off the shelves.

"Some customers bought 10 boxes for just VND1-1.2 million. This week I have sold 300 boxes at VND100,000-130,000 each."

She says confectionery manufacturers anticipated a change in consumer behavior this year and churned out plenty of low-cost gift packs.

Thuan, a confectionery importer on Quang Trung Street in the same district, says 80% of the gifts in his store cost VND200,000-300,000 this year while most of those priced at above VND1 million were pre-ordered by customers.

At supermarket chains like Co.opmart, Co.opXtra, Co.op Food, AEON, Lotte Mart, Go!, and Winmart, most packs are priced at VND99,000-249,000.

Dinh Quang Khoi, head of marketing at leading wholesaler MM Mega Market, says his company had foreseen the belt tightening and stocked up on affordable Tet gift packs.

"We encouraged our suppliers to plan their production and pricing accordingly."

Nguyen Hoang Ngoc Tram, manager of gift pack development at confectionery manufacturer Orion Vina, says his company will make 32,000 tons of confectionery for Tet.

Food manufacturer, Le Gia, has come up with various items costing VND120,000-150,000 and containing condiments like fish sauce, cooking oil, sugar, and MSG.

While supermarkets and other businesses expect consumers to slash their holiday budgets, they still expect Tet sales to be 20-30% higher than last year after taking off towards the end of January as the holiday draws closer.

Orion forecasts a 5-10% increase in sales, Tram says.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the supply of goods for Tet is abundant and many distributors stockpiled products two months in advance.

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