A growing number of opportunities
Throughout Vietnam, recent economic growth has benefited a certain portion of the population who has actually seen their purchasing power increase. Indeed consumers are becoming more open to novelties and diversity, especially those under the age of 30 who represent more than 50% of the population. Foreign brands, perceived to be of better quality, are warmly welcomed by wealthier people. In order to benefit from these opportunities, it is important to take into consideration certain idiosyncrasies of the Vietnamese market.
Also, recent economic growth has contributed to the emergence of a bigger class of wealthy people. This wealth is concentrated in urban areas: the GDP there is six to eight times higher than in rural areas. More than a third of the urban population (Hanoi / Ho Chi Minh) are now a part of the upper-middle class.
Furthermore, it is necessary to geographically divide the market into parts according to the product or service that is to be offered. It is in Ho Chi Minh that consumers are most fond of foreign brands. In fact, more than half of foreign consumer goods are bought there. On the other hand, foreign companies specialized in infrastructure development (energy, environment, aviation, telecoms, etc.) should be looking more towards Hanoi, as it is where the majority of state company’s headquarters are located, which are responsible for a significant proportion of total imports.
Attitudes towards brands differ from man to woman. Women shall choose products based on efficiency (perceived), whereas men choose certain brands in order to project an image of success and social achievement.
In all cases, it is important to remember that although brands influence the decision-making process of the Vietnamese consumer, he remains very sensitive to the price. It is still the number one criteria when it comes to making a purchase decision.
Source:U.S. & FOREIGN COMMERCIAL SERVICE AND U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 2008.