Wet markets dominate, but convenience stores inch up

By Dat Nguyen   November 7, 2018 | 05:37 pm PT
Wet markets dominate, but convenience stores inch up
Vietnamese shoppers are shopping less frequently at traditional wet markets. Photo by Shutterstock/Denis Rozan
While traditional markets still dominate Vietnamese shopping, convenience stores are becoming more popular.

A report released Wednesday said Vietnamese shoppers have made 4.5 trips a month to convenience stores this year, three times that of 2010.

Prepared by market research firm Nielsen Vietnam, the report also said that visits to grocery stores increased from 8.81 trips in 2010 to 9.47 trips this year.

Titled "Nielsen’s Shopper Trend," the report found personal care/drug stores now have a visit rate of 1.22 trips a month, compared to 0.76 percent in 2010.

Vietnamese now go to minimarts two times a month, while in 2010, the visit rate was zero.

The abundance of modern shopping places has contributed to this increase. Since 2012, the number of convenience stores has nearly quadrupled, the report said.

Minimarts comprised the most store openings in first nine months of 2018, and the health/beauty and modern drug stores have also expanded quickly, doubling in the past two years.

Although traditional trade still dominates in Vietnam, the report showed that visits to wet markets have declined. An average Vietnamese shopper now takes 18.86 trips a month to traditional markets, 25 percent less than eight years ago.

Shopping at supermarkets have also dropped from 3.26 trips to 2.45 trips in the same period.

The busy life is the reason that Vietnamese shopping habits are changing, said Gaurang Kotak, Nielsen Vietnam Head of Consumer Insights.

"When urban shoppers have less time, work in crowded cities, face traffic congestion and live further away from their workplace, they need convenient solutions and products which can help make their life easier," he said.

Convenient stores and minimarts allow Vietnamese to manage cash flow by spending smaller amounts more often, reducing the amount of perishables that are thrown away, Kotak added.

The increasing number of customers has seen modern trade channels recorded doubt-digit growths. Nielsen data shows that sales revenue of modern trade channels in urban areas grew 11.3 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, outperforming traditional trade which was up just 1.6 percent.

Kotak added that Vietnamese people now go to modern stores more often because they are more concerned about their well-being.

"Health and wellness is a top-of-mind priority for consumers in Vietnam. Today's shoppers find high-quality products or trusted brands in these stores."

As modern trade retailers continue to expand and invest in improving their stores to attract more shoppers, this channel’s growth is set to accelerate further, the report said.

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