Vietnamese consumers change spending habits

By Tat Dat   December 26, 2021 | 12:42 am PT
Vietnamese consumers change spending habits
People shop at a supermarket in HCMC's District 2, October 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dat
With steep falls in income a major impact of the pandemic in 2021, Vietnamese citizens have cut down spending on non-essential spending items.

Trung Hieu, a freelancer in HCMC, has seen his 2021 savings reduced by half against previous years because of the impacts of the fourth Covid-19 wave. The city went through a four-month-long lockdown that ended early October with the "new normal" having very little of the pre-pandemic socioeconomic vibrancy.

With reduced income and newly-incurred debt, Hieu said he has been forced to cut down on non-essential spending.

"After this year, I will live more frugally and focus on strengthening my financial ability just in case something unexpected that we can’t control happens," Hieu said.

Quynh Nhu, an officer worker in HCMC, has also had her income halved by the pandemic, forcing her to tighten her budget on non-essential items like clothes, shoes and eating out.

But, despite severe spending cuts, Nhu has not been able to save any money this year, because all of her income goes into normal essentials like food and new essentials like face masks and hand sanitizers.

This year, Kathy Tran, a businesswoman living in HCMC, has cut her spending on cosmetics, fashion products and entertainment by 30-40 percent.

But has increased her spending on healthcare products by around 20 percent. She buys anti-Covid items like vitamins, fever-reducing drugs, test kits, SPO2 measuring devices and health supplements for about VND1- 1.2 million ($44-52) a month.

"The impacts of the pandemic this year have forced me to reconsider my personal financial situation for the long-term and cut down on non-essential spending," she said.

A survey of over 10,000 people released last month by U.K.-based market research firm YouGov revealed the Covid impacts have drastically changed personal finance in Vietnam.

Forty-eight percent of respondents in the survey said their incomes fell this year due to the impacts of Covid-19 and some 53 percent said they’ve cut down on non-essential spending in the last six months. The survey found that 81 percent plan to cut their expenditure on non-essentials in the near future.

Vietnamese consumers are now some of the most prudent in the world, the survey found. Two-thirds (67 percent) are more careful with their personal finances than before the pandemic, while a third (34 percent) prioritize protecting their household finances in case of emergencies.

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