Market research results from GFK Retail and Technology Market Research Vietnam Limited show that improvement in average earnings has greatly affected household consumption expenditure, especially in household electrical and electronic appliances. The country's GDP per capita topped US$2,109 last year, but household expenditure will increase to around US$3,737 per household per annum.
Besides, local rising demand in the electronic and electrical retail markets has not been fully tapped. The local retail market has currently only satisfied 25% of the demand. The figure is estimated to reach about 45% in 2020.
Expenditure on electronic and electrical appliances alone is estimated at around VND157 trillion (US$6.8 billion), of which, electronic products accounts for VND60 trillion, led by mobile phones, notebooks and tablets. Meanwhile, household electrical products accounted for VND97 trillion with flat-screen televisions dominating, followed by air conditioners, fridges and washing machines.
Dang Tran Hai Dang, deputy director of VietinbankSc Research Centre, explained that Vietnam has become an official member of a number of free trade agreements, including EU-Vietnam, Vietnam–Republic of Korea (RoK), the Trans Pacific Partnership, and recently the ASEAN Economic Community.
The Ministry of Finance has prepared a list of import tariffs to reduce to zero for all imported items from member countries. Firstly, high-quality electronic and electrical products from Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Thailand are entering into Vietnam with competitive prices. This will boost domestic consumption in the future.
Although domestic demand for electronic and electrical products is increasing rapidly, the retail distribution network is only in the hands of a few enterprises and in big cities. A market survey by VietinbankSc says that in the genuine mobile phone market, The Gioi Di Dong accounts for 30% of market share, FPT 10%, provincial stores and electronics supermarkets 20%, and small mobile phone stores 40%.
As for the electronics market, there are fewer distributors but on a larger scale, including Home Center, Nguyen Kim, Dien May Xanh, Dien May Cho Lon, Pico, Tran Anh and MediaMart. In May last year, leading Vietnamese property firm Vingroup also entered the consumer electronics retailing sector with the introduction of the brand VinPro.
Vingroup set a target to bring the total number of VinPro and VinPro+ stores to 25 and 100, respectively, last year.
According to Huynh Phuoc Cuong, retail director of GFK, foreign investors opt for buying well-known and prestigious distribution networks and stores instead of building a new risky distribution network. At present, legal factors allow them to carry out this objective easily.
Power Buy Company Limited, a company of Thailand's Central Group, has already acquired a 49% stake in Nguyen Kim Trading Joint Stock Company, one of the biggest home appliance store chains in Vietnam. In addition, Central Group has also bought a 49% stake of Pico. Japanese corporations owned a 49% stake, a 91 percent stake, and a 30% stake of Citimart, Tran Anh, and Fivimart, respectively. A few shopping centres have been bought by investors from the RoK and Hong Kong.
With the market is changing so rapidly, concerns have been raised whether Vietnamese businesses will be able to withstand the intrusion of experienced and rich competitors from other countries. Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said that there will still be a place for small businesses as long as they are proactive and learn to adapt to the new situation.