The Vietnam Consumer Survey
Rebound, rebalance, and renewal
Vietnam’s success in bringing COVID-19 under control has resulted in the emergence of three intriguing trends: a rebound in consumer confidence; a rebalancing of consumer priorities; and a renewal of the retail landscape.
COVID-19 has undoubtedly taken a toll on economies across the globe, and Vietnam is no exception. Where it has differed, however, is the level of resilience that it has displayed against the pandemic and its accompanying external headwinds. Looking ahead, its economy appears poised for a rapid recovery on the back of its successful national vaccination program, reopening of the tourism sector, and recent easing of pandemic controls.
In this edition of the Vietnam Consumer Survey, we will explore some of the key changes in consumer behaviour and buying patterns that have emerged from the recent survey conducted by Deloitte Southeast Asia in the fourth quarter of 2021 across 1,000 households through face-to-face interviews in four major cities: Can Tho, Da Nang, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City.
We will begin by examining the overall consumer sentiment, including the intention to vary expenditure levels across different product categories. What we found was a visible rebound in consumer optimism, accompanied by a relatively high level of receptiveness to participating in key economic activities – in particular, going to work and visiting a store. Given their upbeat outlook, Vietnamese consumers could also be observed to be reallocating their expenditure away from basic necessities, and towards greater discretionary spending.
Next, we will explore the purchase drivers across different product categories. As consumers look beyond the pandemic, we found that considerations of pricing attributes are also taking a backseat to that of more pertinent product attributes, such as quality, taste, and product variety. But this is not to say that pricing considerations do not matter; rather, we believe that consumers are likely making more conscious trade-offs between pricing and other valued product attributes.
Finally, we will take a look at some of the shifts in consumer preferences for buying channels. It perhaps comes as no surprise that there has been a pandemic-induced acceleration toward modern trade and e-commerce channels, as well as food takeaway and delivery services. But what the survey uncovered was also the new trends that COVID-19 may be catalysing, such as a growing interest in ‘do-it-yourself’ restaurant meals.
Overall, we observed three intriguing trends: a rebound in consumer confidence; a rebalancing of consumer priorities; and a renewal of the retail landscape. In this report, we will explore each of these trends in turn, and their corresponding implications for the consumer industry in Vietnam.