Shackle-free growth seen for Vietnam retail chains

By Vu Le   March 7, 2019 | 02:30 am PT
Shackle-free growth seen for Vietnam retail chains
Inside a shopping mall in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Vu Le
Industry insiders say chains are set to ride high on retail sector potential with annual growth of 20-30 percent

The high growth estimation was mentioned by Dinh Thi My Loan, chairwoman of Vietnam Retail Association, at a recent conference on future prospects for Vietnam’s retail sector.

Loan said that there was "big room for the modern retail sector to develop" since retail channels like supermarkets, shopping centers and online shopping platforms constituted just under 30 percent of the retail market. 

"The expansion of retail chains is also a strongly growing trend in the country, as companies want to develop chains in all sectors like cosmetics, fashion, and food and beverages," she said. 

"Domestic businesses have been very creative and flexible in going large scale, ensuring good corporate governance and building a strong brand image," she said.

Rebecca Pearson, deputy director, CBRE Asia, the real estate management firm, noted that 80 percent of retail revenue still comes from offline stores. As such, shopping malls will remain the place for brands to invest in technology, customer experience and collect consumer data, she said.

She also said that 90 percent of shoppers in the Asia Pacific region would buy more if they can collect items ordered online at physical outlets. 

Modern customers like to order online, but prefer being able to see and feel the products before receiving them. As such, businesses need to invest in locations that are convenient for many customers, and invest in technology and enhancing consumer experience in such places, she said. 

Chris Dobson, vice president of the Institute of Retail Design, said that although technology has developed greatly and is being applied increasingly in the retail market, word of mouth was still key for distribution.

He said that while 50 percent of customers shop based on personal experience, 80 percent rely on word of mouth. 

According to the General Statistics Office, retail and service sectors raked in revenues of VND793.8 trillion ($34.26 billion) in the first two months of 2019, up 12.2 percent year-on-year.

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