A market analysis firm estimated that the Vietnamese mobile phone market was valued at US$3.7 billion, or VND82 trillion, in 2017. Of this, nearly half of the revenue went to Samsung. Apple and Oppo made up 40% of value and 20% of total number of products sold.
Nguyen Bach Diep, chair and CEO of FPT Retail, which runs the retail chain FPT Shop, said the sales of Apple’s products (iPhone, iPad, MacBook and Apple Watch) in Vietnam are roughly US$1 billion, of which 70% (US$700 million) are from iPhones.
The retailer said the iPhone market in Vietnam still promises great potential with 40% of supply from unofficial import channels and the low number of shops specializing in distributing Apple’s products.
There are only a dozen or more Apple authorized resellers in Vietnam, a low figure compared to approximately 500 shops in Thailand, 300 in Indonesia and 500 in Singapore.
Analysts believe that once the number of authorized resellers increases, more consumers will go to specialized shops, and the number of shops selling genuine products will increase.
FPT Retail plans to join forces with Apple to open 100 more sale points specializing in Apple’s products in Vietnam in the next 2-3 years.
If Vietnam is added on Apple’s list of markets to begin selling its products soon, or the first markets to sell products right after launches, unofficial imports will have fewer opportunities to exist.
Is it easy to make money?
Lazada, one of the best known e-commerce websites, has jumped into the iPhone distribution market. In early 2018 it received Apple’s authorization to become the online distributor of iPhones throughout Southeast Asia.
It is still unclear if Lazada’s entry into the iPhone distribution market will lead to the restructuring of the market and affect business of The Gioi Di Dong and FPT Shop, the two biggest offline distribution chains.
Chair of The Gioi Di Dong Nguyen Duc Tai believes that few Vietnamese will order iPhones online because they want to see the products before making a decision.
In related news, Vietnamese have joined the community of iPhone users filing lawsuits against Apple for intentionally slowing down the phones as the devices' batteries aged. A website at batterydown.vn has been set up to which Vietnamese iPhone users can register to join the lawsuit.