In the first 10 months – figures are available only for that period – the sales reported by 839 e-commerce websites were around VND11.6 trillion (US$520 million) compared with VND8.1 trillion in the same period in 2014.
A recent survey of 105 websites by the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s e-commerce and information technology department found that 89 per cent of those portals sell products and the rest, services.
Most of them are based in HCM City (44 per cent) or Ha Noi (40 per cent), with 97 per cent belonging to companies. Two per cent are foreign-owned and 1 per cent, State-owned.
Thirteen per cent do business both in the international and domestic markets, 8 per cent focus on a single province and three per cent focus completely on foreign markets.
Around 62 per cent are on social networks, with Facebook alone accounting for 70 per cent.
Computers, smart phones, electronic and digital products and office equipment are the most popular items bought online, accounting for 23 per cent.
Fashion products and accessories also account for 23 per cent.
They are followed by real estate (12 per cent), household appliances (10 per cent) and accommodation and tourism (8 per cent).
Some of the most popular websites are pico.vn, lazada.vn, thegioididong.com, esale.zing.vn, fptshop.com.vn, nguyenkim.com, hc.com.vn, and dienmaycholon.vn.
Seventy six per cent of websites said customers come back for a second time.
Over half the websites that took part in the survey said their major source of revenue is advertising while 23 per cent collect fees on orders and 12 – 18 per cent collect other fees like membership.
Despite the strong growth last year, e-commerce websites face operational challenges. For instance, around 31 per cent of them suffer from a lack of quality human resources, not surprising considering there are around 200,000 websites and they each need at least one IT expert to manage them.
According to vietnamworks.com, demand for internet/online media professionals has surged in recent years.
Additionally, 25 per cent of websites believe that customers who do not trust the quality of products sold online or who worry about paying online would hinder the industry’s development, while 22 per cent believe shipping costs are still too high and 20 per cent complain about unhealthy competition among e-commerce websites.