Vietnam leads digital consumer growth in Southeast Asia

vietnam digital
HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM - OCTOBER, 2019: A man plays a virtual reality game in an exhibition. Image by Anh Dung | Bigstockphoto

Vietnam has seen rapid digitalization in recent years, with nearly 80% of the population considered as digital consumers, according to a new report. This makes Vietnam one of the top markets for adopting new technologies, from e-commerce to mobile payments.

Released by Bain & Company in partnership with Meta, the “SYNC Southeast Asia” report on digital consumers in Southeast Asia notes that this trend is set to continue in the next few years.

Vietnam’s digital consumers are among the most active in the region, with 58% using online banking solutions, e-wallets, money transfer applications, and digital banking.

E-commerce accounts for more retail growth

The report also found that the average contribution of e-commerce to total retail growth in the country has continued to grow at 15% over the past year, higher than India’s 10% and China’s 4% growth. The online-to-total retail share is now 6%.

By the end of 2022, Vietnam’s new digital consumers are expected to reach 4 million (6%), more than Thailand’s 2 million and Malaysia’s 1 million new digital consumers. This means that Vietnam’s appetite for digital consumption is only increasing, making it an attractive market for businesses to enter.

The report also highlights that across Southeast Asia, consumers are prioritizing an integrated shopping experience that effectively combines online and in-person services. This trend is being driven by the increasing use of mobile devices and the growing availability of high-speed internet connections.

Vietnam a top adopter of digital tech

Emerging technologies – also termed here as ‘future technologies’ – are playing an increasingly important role in the region. In Vietnam, these include fintech and the metaverse. Alongside Indonesia and the Philippines, Vietnam is one of the top markets for the adoption of such technologies.

“Globally, Southeast Asia sees a higher penetration of e-wallets, cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) compared to most other markets such as China, the US, the EU and Japan,” the report says. “Seven in 10 respondents in Southeast Asia have tried a metaverse-related tech in the past year.”

The Vietnamese government has been supportive of digitalization, from launching a legal blockchain entity in May to encouraging the growth of an ecosystem for metaverse and innovation startups.

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