If inflation is excluded, the amount marks an increase of 7.8%, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
Vu Manh Ha, GSO expert, said the growth of the total retail sales and services revenue in the first five months of 2016, excluding inflation, was lower than the 8.2% growth in the same period last year. This meant purchasing power was on the decline.
The reduction was due to the impact of incidents affecting accommodation, catering and tourism services and of the mass fish deaths along Vietnam’s central coastal provinces.
The spending power of those offering such services in the coastal provinces fell strongly as they had to cancel their beach tours.
Meanwhile, the purchasing power of goods retailers witnessed high growth of 9.5% in the first five months, amounting to VND1,920 trillion (US$48.5 billion), accounting for two-thirds of the total retail sales and services revenue.
Retailers of rice and foodstuff saw growth of 13.6%; garment retailers, 10.9%; and home appliance retailers, 9.6%.
Ha said the total retail sales and services revenue next month would increase further due to high demand for house construction and repairs and recovering demand for beach tours.
GSO director Nguyen Bich Lam said purchasing power this year was expected to have a lower growth rate than last year because of the stability in prices, high supply and stable demand for most essential goods.
Spending on some services, including accommodation, catering, tourism and entertainment, will not have a high growth rate as it did previously, Lam said, because the people were worried about food safety and environmental pollution affecting the quality of the food. They tend to eat mostly home-cooked meals now and control their spending on entertainment and tourism services to save money.