|A shopper scans QR codes to shop online (Photo: vinid.net)
The General Statistics Office of Vietnam reported that turnover in the first quarter of food and beverage, and hotel and tourism services decreased by 9.6% and 27.8%, respectively.
Data from CBRE Vietnam also showed the number of visitors to shopping centres decreased by about 80% in both HCM City and Hanoi because of the pandemic.
But although direct shopping revenue dropped, e-commerce and online shopping helped save many retail businesses, the research firm said.
CBRE also reported a strong competition between veteran e-commerce platforms and new players at the end of last month.
During the pandemic, Tiki reached a record of 4,000 orders per minute, SpeedL and Saigon Co.op also soared in the online sales segment.
Ride-hailing platform Grab also quickly launched its GrabMart service to serve the online shopping needs of customers at home.
Vo Thi Phuong Mai, deputy director and head of retail services of CBRE Vietnam, said the COVID-19 pandemic had negatively impacted direct visitor traffic but creating many opportunities for small and medium-sized models such as convenience stores, pharmacies and especially e-commerce.
E-commerce was a bright and transforming point, which supports physical stores during the pandemic, she added.
Multi-channel sales would be more flexible and may even outperform the post-COVID-19 period.
AT Kearney also listed the Vietnamese retail market among the world's most exciting group.
There are many figures and development trends making domestic and foreign retailers realise the attractiveness and great opportunities in the country.
Vietnam’s economic growth is among the highest in the region which is supported by a population of nearly 100 million, a young population group and their increasing income.
The rapid urbanisation process creates new shopping and consumption trends, especially in modern shopping spaces.
Under the pressure of the pandemic, many businesses in the retail industry rushed to adapt.
Being a traditional retail giant established in 1996, Saigon Co.op is a typical adaptation when moving to multi-channel sales in recent years such as television retail, applying Scan & Go, and e-wallet MoMo.
"After diversifying the retail category, we are aiming for omnichannel sales," said Nguyen Anh Duc, newly appointed general director of Saigon Co.op in Forbes magazine recently.