A woman pulls a cart at a supermarket in Hanoi. Photo: Reuters
When asked about the factors that influence purchasing decisions in 19 product categories, price was only one of the attributes influencing product selection among Vietnamese shoppers.
Two other main factors are taste in edible categories and brand name in non-edibles, according to the Nielsen Global Retail-Growth Strategies Survey of more than 30,000 online respondents in 61 countries.
Nearly six out of 10 Vietnamese consumers say they “enjoy” or “somewhat enjoy” taking time to find bargains.
But, when it comes to store selection, there are several important attributes, not just price.
Product availability (62 percent), high-quality product (57 percent), convenient location (54 percent), store personnel (51 percent) and product assortment (51 percent) are the five factors that influence the decision by Vietnamese consumers to shop at a particular retailer.
“While intense promotional activity among retailers and manufacturers has created an expectation among consumers that low prices should be the norm in the market, some consumers are adjusting their spending—and increasingly, value is about more than the low price,” Roberto Butragueño, associate director of retail services, Nielsen Vietnam, said.
“Consumers are willing to pay more if they think the benefits outweigh the price.
“Sales and promotional strategies are not effective if brands and retailers don’t guarantee other attributes of the products. It’s clear that consumers do not want to compromise on quality,” added Roberto.
Health and wellness is a top-of-mind priority for consumers across Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam. Nearly 79 percent of Vietnamese shoppers actively seek products with healthy ingredients and 74 percent say they read nutritional labels carefully.
More noticeably, 48 percent mention that there are not enough healthy options available to buy.
Butragueño said: “Currently the top consumer concern is even more skewed towards food quality. Therefore, a guarantee of food quality in particular and product quality in general could be a competitive advantage for modern trade retailers.”
With the rapid speed of life and shrinking family size, Vietnamese consumers crave convenience in everything, especially when choosing the stores they shop.
Nearly six in 10 say their store selection decision is highly influenced by convenient location.
Nearly five in 10 say that an organized store layout that makes it easy to shop is another factor when they have to choose which store to go to.
“Convenience is no longer a store front. It’s becoming a way of life. Stores aren’t going to disappear any time soon, but they will undergo a dramatic transformation as e-commerce grows and shopper expectations change. Retailers need to consider what role physical stores will play in their omnichannel strategy and how they can use them to strengthen their offerings and deliver value each trip,” Butragueño said.
Vietnam’s retail sales topped VND2.46 trillion (US$108.8 billion) in 2015, a year-on-year increase of 10.6 percent and higher than most projections.
Local and international market forecasts had suggested retail sales would only reach $109 billion in 2017.
Recent figures from the Ministry of Industry and Trade show that with 724 supermarkets, 132 shopping malls and hundreds of convenience stores, modern retail channels now account for around 25 percent of Vietnam’s retail market.