Apps race to attract customers with sweet deals

By Vien Thong   January 25, 2019 | 02:01 am PT
Apps race to attract customers with sweet deals
A woman browses Tet promotions on an online shopping app. Photo by VnExpress.
E-wallets, food-delivery and online shopping apps are offering a range of Tet (Lunar New Year Festival) promotions to widen their customer base.

On January 21, e-wallet cashless payment platform MoMo experienced a temporary freeze of its network shortly after launching a promotion that gives customers a chance to receive gifts when using the app to send money. 

Shortly after the promotion was launched, MoMo recorded an additional 500,000 downloads and registrations of its app, forcing the platform to upgrade its capacity immediately. 

At the time of the freeze, MoMo reported a record of over 1 million customers who had logged on at the same time for a chance to receive something from MoMo’s pool of gifts worth over VND100 billion ($4.32 million).

About 2 days later, ZaloPay, another e-payment platform also entered the race by encouraging users to make deposits, payments and money transfers to receive bonus points and redeem vouchers from a pool of VND10 billion ($431,995).

The promotion heat has also spread to the food delivery industry, where Grab, the Singaporean-based ride hailing and food delivery app, has announced its expansion to an additional 12 provinces and cities, to make "food ordering easier during Tet".  

Tet, or Lunar New Year Festival, will be celebrated from February 2-10 this year.

Demi Yu, GrabFood regional director for Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Philippines, revealed that the number of GrabFood orders increased has increased 25 times since it was launched in Vietnam last October. 

"With our extensive driver partner network, we’ve been able to lower average delivery time to 20 minutes in central Hanoi and HCMC, making us the fastest food delivery service in Vietnam," she said. 

A survey published by Vietnamese market research firm GCOMM earlier this month showed that 99 percent of those surveyed said they used online food ordering services at least 2-3 times per month. 39 percent said they ordered through these apps 2-3 times a week.

According to this survey, the 6 most popular apps are GrabFood, Foody, GoFood, Lala, Vietnammm and Lixi. However, because of the fierceness of competition, just a few days before the study was announced, Lala withdrew from the food delivery market to focus on providing software solutions to restaurants. 

"Demand for delivery is growing in Hanoi and HCMC. I think in the next 5 years, it will thrive in the 10 largest cities. There are about 100,000 delivery orders each day in HCMC and Hanoi combined, whereas there was virtually no demand for this service 3 years ago.

The delivery market is now worth $500 million, but is expected to grow to $2 billion in 5 years," said Luong Duy Hoai, founder of GHN, a courier service with over 7,000 staff. 

According to a recent report by South Korean commercial giant Lotte, the number of orders and visits by online shoppers rose by 80 percent and 200 percent respectively in 2018. 

Kim Kyou Sik, general director of, the group’s online outlet, said: "Late 2019 will be a major battle for all e-commercial sites to establish market share. We aspire to become one of Vietnam’s top 4 e-commerce sites by the end of the year." 

According to research by Nielsen Vietnam, with 53 percent of the population using the Internet, nearly 50 million numbers registered on smartphones, most online shoppers being from 25-29 years old, the e-commerce market in Vietnam is full of potential despite growing at 22 percent per year.

The e-Conomy SEA 2018 report by Google and Singaporean investment firm Temasek also revealed that e-commerce, along with three other areas, namely online advertising, online travel and ride hailing dominate Vietnam’s Internet economy. 

In 2018, the Internet economy had an estimated total worth of $9 billion. Earlier this year, the two companies collaborated in a report which revealed that gross merchandise volume of Vietnam’s Internet economy amounted to 4 percent of its GDP.

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