Online shopping surges on Vietnam social distancing campaign

Amid the 15-day nationwide social distancing campaign, people in Vietnam are increasingly resorting to online shopping and home delivery.

online shopping surges on vietnam social distancing campaign hinh 0
A BeGroup delivery workers waits for receiving goods at a Saigon store to deliver them to his customer. Photo by VnExpress/Vien Thong.

While cleaning her house, Thanh of Ho Chi Minh City's Thu Duc District heard the doorbell and ran down quickly to see a supermarket delivery employee waiting for her.

She used to go to the supermarket to buy daily necessities when returning home from work.

"Now I work from home, and quite busy and afraid of going to crowded places for fear of COVID-19. So I choose to shop online," Thanh said.

Thanh is not the only customer to switch to online grocery shopping through apps launched by supermarkets or ride-hailing firms since people are required to limit going out and keep a minimum distance of two meters from each other in public places.

In fact online grocery shopping is booming. 

A spokesperson for BigC supermarket chain said its stores in the south have reported 3,000 orders in March, up from 1,000 the previous month. 

In the north, the average order value this week ưas up 80-120% compared to the past.

Hung, a  delivery worker at a BigC supermarket in HCMC’s Binh Tan District said in the past few days the number of deliveries has increased by two to three times.

"Some days I have to eat lunch quickly and then deliver right away so that customers do not have to wait long."

Saigon Co.op has received over 20,000 orders though its online shopping service only began a fortnight ago, more than 50% through messaging apps like Zalo and Viber.

The Republic of Korea's retailer Lotte Mart’s e-commerce site SpeedL and supermarket chain VinMart also reported a surge in orders, with vegetables, fruits, rice, noodles, cooking oil, bottled water, and toilet paper being the most in demand.

Ride-hailing firms have caught up with the trend, launching new services that enable people to buy food and groceries without leaving home.

Ride-hailing service Be Group gets 15,000 orders every day for buying goods, up 200% from late January.

Tai, a Be Group delivery worker said during peak days he gets 15-20 orders for buying from supermarkets, with many people ordering dried foods, vegetables and fruits.

Grab users can now easily buy a wide assortment of foodstuffs from its partner convenience stores, retail stores and supermarkets.

A recent survey by Nielsen Vietnam and Infocus Mekong Mobile Panel found that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a strong impact on Vietnamese consumer trends. People have reduced the frequency of their visits to supermarkets and grocery stores by 50% and to traditional and fresh food markets by more than 60%, it found.

The country began a 15-day social distancing campaign to contain the pandemic on April 1, with the government saying it is a critical period, and banning gatherings of more than two people and telling people not to leave their homes.