Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s E-Commerce and Information Technology Agency showed 70% of purchases via social media were made on Facebook this year, up slightly from 2017.
Facebook was more regularly visited by shoppers, with 77% of online shoppers using it for purchases, compared to 5% on Zalo.
Among more than 1,000 respondents to a survey by CBRE Vietnam, a quarter currently or previously sold products online. Some 66% used Facebook for sales, 49% used Shopee and 26% used Lazada.
According to experts, trade volume via e-commerce reached US$4.07 billion in 2015, hit US$5.1 billion in 2016 and US$6.2 billion in 2017. The figure is forecast to surge to US$10 billion by 2020, giving Vietnam a great chance to develop the digital economy.
A recent study by the Institute for Global Leadership under the US’s Tufts University showed Vietnam ranks 48th out of 60 countries globally in terms of rapidly switching to digital economy, and 22nd in terms of digitalisation.
The United Nations E-Government Survey 2018 also pointed out that since 2014, Vietnam has jumped 11 places to the 88th out of 193 countries and territories in the e-government development index. It also ranks seventh in ASEAN, behind Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Brunei.
Dang Hoang Hai, head of the MoIT’s Department of E-Commerce and Digital Economy, admitted that infrastructure for the digital economy, including electronic payment, distribution, human resources, information technology and security and safety remain limited.
Most Vietnamese firms, including e-commerce ones, don’t pay attention to the rapid changes of modern technology, he said.
Experts have called for more investment in technology and human resources amid the fourth industrial revolution. Apart from virtual technology, artificial technology and blockchain are breakthrough technology trends which are applicable in many fields.
Analysts have forecast that around 30% of Vietnam’s population will shop online by 2020, spending an average US$350 per person yearly.
In particular, social e-commerce is set to thrive in 2019, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung said apart from refining the national e-commerce payment system, it is necessary to issue favourable mechanisms and optimise business models to effectively use smart supply chain as well as manage intellectual property.