Vietnam's economy is arguably one of the most resilient Southeast Asian countries in handling the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The reason is that the Vietnamese government has rolled out successful measures of the virus containment. The Vietnam consumer behavior possesses supportive characteristics and composition positively curbed to the well-being of the economy.
The country's economy is mainly driven by manufacturing sectors' export and domestic consumption. Therefore, during the period of COVID-19 spread, the domestic consumption helped cushion damages done due to the weak global export demand.
Moreover, Vietnam has been the anticipated destination for companies seeking to relocate their manufacturing operations from China due to the recent US-China trade tension. The unique condition of the country eventually allowed Vietnam to record a positive GDP rate of 1.8 percent in 2020 while neighboring countries experienced deficits and crises.
With the pandemic taking on one and a half years, consumers in Vietnam have established a new set of characteristics that permanently shift how companies could better cater to the market's needs.
The most significant Vietnam consumer behavior change is the need for digitalization in all aspects of life, demanding companies to digitally transform and provide services outside of their brick-and-mortar approach.
Vietnamese consumers are generally confident about the country and the government's ability to recover from the pandemic.
The government has released multiple monetary and fiscal relaxations for businesses and vulnerable citizens to continue their daily lives as usual. As a result, domestic consumption remains resilient, with minor setbacks to the economic traffic of the country.
Vietnamese consumer trends have shifted to necessity goods, as consumers face uncertainties induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sales of necessities such as agricultural products and poultry have increased during 2020 and continued to 2021 with no signs of slowing down. In contrast, discretionary spending and luxury goods have fallen as consumers become more conscious of saving and spending.
Vietnamese consumers' receptiveness to e-commerce and online shopping has surged for most product categories, forcing companies to reroute their strategy to online channels and emphasizing the need for seamless logistics services.
As the country reopens, Vietnamese consumers started to go back to traditional brick-and-mortar stores to fulfill their daily activities. However, the sales of fashion and leisure products remain strong through online channels, showing evidence of urgent needs for businesses to stay relevant in both offline and online presence.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnamese consumers enjoy quality online purchasing experiences over discounts and promotions. The need for a digital consumer experience in Vietnam has led to businesses' rapid investment towards innovation in digital transformation. However, the tendency for consumer experience brings the concern of the extent of the digital asset.
As Vietnam inoculates its citizen and reaches herd immunity, there are possibilities that Vietnamese consumers will go back to shopping conventionally. Such action would position digital shopping as obsolete due to the nature of experience prioritization.
Vietnam hosts a unique set of consumer characteristics that demands particular needs as urgency. Companies seeking to operate in the country must adhere to the consumer's preference in order to flourish in the resilient Southeast Asian economy.
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