E-Commerce in Vietnam: Outlook & Retail Trends in 2023

Last Updated: October 30, 2023


How's The Development of E-Commerce in Vietnam?

The e-commerce industry in Vietnam has experienced remarkable expansion over the past ten years, boasting an average growth rate of over 60%. Currently, the online retail sector is valued at nearly $10 billion in sales, accounting for approximately 5.8% of the total retail market. Although Vietnam trails other nations in terms of online retail adoption, the country is renowned for its innovation in this field. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam’s popular chat app, Zalo, and local retailers demonstrated their agility in swiftly implementing novel solutions to cater to customer needs.

Historically, the adoption of e-commerce in Vietnam has been propelled by the increasing number of internet users and the growth of digitally-savvy consumers. The COVID-19 pandemic has further spurred e-commerce usage due to concerns about the spread of the virus. Moreover, the Vietnamese government’s initiatives to promote e-commerce adoption are expected to foster growth among those who don’t usually engage in online shopping. The government’s strategy aims to raise e-commerce usage among the population to 55% and boost per capita e-commerce spending to around $600 by 2025.

During the pandemic, as customers have moved away from their usual brick-and-mortar stores, many merchants have adapted by shifting their focus to digital platforms to maintain customer engagement. For instance, Big C, one of Vietnam’s largest retailers, now allows its customers to place orders through Zalo and have their purchases delivered to their homes.

There was also the “Ung ho nong san Viet” (Support Vietnamese agricultural products) initiative, a collaboration between Saigon Union of Trading Cooperatives and mobile payment platform Momo, aimed to sell Vietnamese lychee on the Momo platform amid the pandemic. With lockdowns and social distancing, consumers preferred online shopping, leading to increased support for the program. To further assist, the Vietnamese government encouraged e-commerce platforms to sell fresh food. In response, Tiki launched TikiNgon, and Lazada expanded its product assortment to include fresh food. As non-grocery retailers temporarily closed during the 2021 lockdown, consumers heavily relied on e-commerce platforms like tiki.vn, lazada.vn, and shoppee.vn for groceries.

We are also seeing an increasing number of small and medium-sized retailers are turning to e-commerce to benefit from its reduced maintenance costs and lack of rental fees. These retailers often distinguish themselves from larger competitors by providing a wider variety of products imported from Thailand and South Korea. The competitive pricing appeals to younger consumers, who are also leading the e-commerce adoption. Their involvement in social media exposes them to rapidly changing fashion trends, driving consistent demand for health and beauty products. As a result, both consumer health e-commerce and beauty & personal care e-commerce are projected to grow faster than the overall channel average in the coming years.

Although Vietnam’s e-commerce growth rate in 2022 is among the slowest of the decade (due to the base effect), the market remains dynamic and offers significant potential. This is attributed to increased consumer spending on non-grocery items, buoyed by a positive economic outlook. As vaccination rates increase and pandemic-related uncertainties subside, store-based retail sales are expected to recover. While e-commerce reliance might decrease, it will continue to exhibit robust double-digit value growth, fueled by urban consumers seeking convenience amid their hectic lifestyles.

Online & Offline Retail in Vietnam
Unit: Billion USD
Online & Offline Retail Growth in Vietnam
Unit: %
Retail Value Added (% of GDP) in Vietnam
Unit: %
E-Commerce Sales a a % of Retail in Vietnam
Unit: %

Competition Among E-Commerce Platforms in Vietnam

E-commerce in Vietnam is still in a competitive and rapidly evolving stage, with no clear leader in the market. Shopee is currently the dominant player in terms of both retail sales and volume, but other companies such as Tiki and Lazada also have strong positions in the market. It is likely that the landscape will continue to change as new players enter the market and existing ones adapt to changing consumer needs and preferences.

Trends driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as social commerce and omni-channel strategies implemented by retailers, are causing significant changes in the market as well.

Retail & E-Commerce Trends in Vietnam

  • An interesting trend among Vietnamese retailers is their focus on omni-channel strategies. Many of the solutions developed by retailers are designed to facilitate an omni-channel experience for customers. For example, customers can browse products in physical stores and place orders on the retailer’s e-commerce website, or they can visit the website first and then make purchases in-store in a seamless process. This enables retailers to provide a more convenient and seamless shopping experience for their customers. Companies like Mobile World, FPT Corp, or hypermarket retailers like Big 5 are among the leading players.
  • In Vietnam, shipping and payment methods play a crucial role in consumers’ decision-making process for online purchases. Cash on delivery (COD) is a particularly a popular choice. Customers often prefer to feel the items before purchasing, making COD an ideal option. Additionally, concerns about card fraud make consumers hesitant to use financial cards for online payments, unless they are dealing with a well-established, trustworthy retailer or a secure third-party payment site like PayPal.
  • There is also a trend in the payment landscape where Momo and Zalo are increasingly emerge as the leaders. In the past few years, we are seeing most merchants that offer e-commerce collaborated with mobile payment providers like Momo or Zalo Pay to facilitate sales through mobile e-commerce. For instance, Co.op Smile and Co.op Food partnered with Momo, while Big C joined forces with Zalo Messenger to enhance their sales potential.
  • A growing trend among urban consumers with demanding work schedules is the rising popularity of delivery services, which help save time for busy individuals. Foody JSC led the way in third-party grocery delivery during the latter half of the review period with the introduction of Market Now service. This service allows customers to select their preferred hypermarkets or supermarkets and the items they wish to buy. The delivery service then purchases the products on behalf of the customers and delivers them to their homes, providing hypermarkets and supermarkets with an additional opportunity to connect with consumers.

Financial Environment

Source: World Bank, Payment Providers, eMarketer

In Vietnam, There are about 4.1% of people use credit cards, and 26.7% of people use debit cards. While there are 18.7% of people purchase on the internet, there is only 9.2% of people with online banking accounts.

% of People With Financial Accounts
Unit: %
% of People with Credit Cards
Unit: %
% of People with Debit Cards
Unit: %
% of People Exchange Through Digital Channels
Unit: %
% of People Buy Through Online Channels
Unit: %
% of People with Internet Banking Accounts
Unit: %
% of People Pay Utility Bill Online
Unit: %
E-Commerce Sales as a % of Total Retail
Unit: %

Weekly Use of E-Commerce

Source: Statista Digital Market Outlook

E-Commerce Driving Factors

Source: GWI.com (Q3, 2021)

For E-Commerce Customers in VietnamWhat are the major driving factors to purchasing online?

% of respondents think is their main drivers
Source: Multi-select survey

Consumer Goods E-Commerce in Vietnam

Source: GWI.com (Q3, 2021)

There is 51.78 million consumer goods e-commerce users in Vietnam, and they spend total of around 12.42 billion USD dollars in 2021. That makes a per capita spending on consumer goods e-commerce of around  240 USD. Also, in those e-commerce users, about 50.2% of them purchase through their mobile phone.

Market Size of Consumer Goods E-Commerce
Unit: Million USD

Digital Media E-Commerce in Vietnam

Source: Digital Market Outlook 2021
Market Size of Digital Media E-Commerce
Unit: Million USD
  • Retail Sales & E-Commerce Penetration: eMarketer, Edge By Ascential, Euromonitor Retail Passport
  • Currency: Based on IMF Data 2022/12
  • Consumer Behavior: Statista Digital Market Outlook
  • Retail Channels: Euromonitor, Local Association, Financial Reports (Of Relevant Retailers)
  • Data Compilation: OOSGA.org
  • Analysis: OOSGA CR Team Analytics
  • Conference: Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)
  • Payment Trends: JP Morgan
  • Omni-channel retailing: Deloitte
Author: CR Team

Our consumer research practice tracks what customers spend and how they make decisions across major economies in the world.

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