Vietnamese prefer overseas sites for online shopping

Vietnamese online shoppers spend significantly more on overseas purchases than they do domestically as they believe international e-commerce platforms offer better products and service quality, a new report has said.

The report, from the Vietnam E-commerce Association or VECOM, said that many global retailers like Amazon and eBay have made it easier for Vietnamese consumers to buy online.

“Meanwhile, a majority of Vietnamese e-businesses, especially small- and medium-sized companies, have yet to make significant investments in market research catering to consumers,” said the report.

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Workers prepare orders for customers at the Amazon Fulfillment Center California. Photo by Reuters

Local online shopping sites are less competitive in terms of product diversity and quality, return policy, and order placement costs, the report highlighted.

“I shop on both eBay and Amazon,” Quoc Hung, a VnExpress reader said in a comment. “I can just send a product back if I don’t like it.”

Most Vietnamese online businesses don’t offer free delivery and free return, another reader pointed out.

Chinese online retail giant Alibaba is also attracting more Vietnamese customers. Internet company OSB, Alibaba’s authorized agent in Vietnam, said the company's customer base in Vietnam has expanded to 500,000 after sharp increases over the past three years.

The online shopping trend is growing rapidly in Vietnam, where 30% of the population will be buying goods and services over the internet by 2020, according to the Vietnam E-Commerce and Information Technology Agency.

The agency, run by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said revenue from online retail is expected to account for 5% of the country’s retail market in 2020, up from only 2.8% in 2015.

Vietnam's e-commerce market, which has one of the world's fastest growth rates, jumped 37% in 2015 to around US$4 billion, based on government statistics.

The growth rate is about 2.5 times faster than that in Japan, based on some estimates by industry experts.