January 19, 2021

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Vietnam’s Internet economy growth ranks second in Asia

Vietnam’s Internet economy has advanced by 39% annually since 2015 and is currently the second fastest-growing in Asia, with 68 million Internet users in the country this year. The figure is expected to reach 75.7 million by 2023, according to a report.

According to a press release, the government’s drive toward 100% smartphone penetration through the support of low-cost smartphone production and one of the cheapest data packages in the region will support this growth.

Rise of digital rural consumers

Although urban areas continue to dominate the online landscape in terms of spending, rural Vietnam is a prime market for growth, poised to grow twice as quickly as the metro cities. This is where over half of the country’s population resides – an untapped market with rising Internet penetration.

Specifically, 77% of residents in rural areas now have Internet access, with 91% of them browsing the Internet daily. The Internet has become a bridge to resources, products, and services that these users are accessing for the first time.

Rural users are rapidly turning to the Internet for communication, education, self-development, and entertainment. Marketers can align their messaging to these categories, leveraging the aspirations of these users with useful and relevant content that creates an emotional connection.

Rise of the on-demand economy

With most of the world under lockdown, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought down the number of customers visiting stores. Although Vietnam is no longer under lockdown, local consumers are still reluctant to venture out of their homes, leading to much slower recovery of store traffic.

Even before the pandemic, the Internet economies were on the rise with Vietnamese consumers, especially the young generation. Additionally, local consumers are increasingly shifting from physical branches to the online medium for their financial needs, which has resulted in a 33% surge in the download of finance apps and an increase in search interest for “online lending apps” by 300% in the past year.

Smart shoppers

Online shopping has evolved significantly due to increased access to the Internet coupled with the health crisis, with 83% of Vietnamese now spending more time researching products online before making a purchase. Further, local consumers are asking more personalised queries, with 75% of purchases being done offline, yet 62% of the research for these purchases being done online.

As OpenGov Asia reported, from 2021, Vietnam plans to provide digital transformation ranking to ministries and provinces each year, measuring the extent to which national and local authorities have developed online activities in all areas of the society and economy.

The country’s administration is prioritising e-government as a central pillar of its ambitious national digital transformation strategy to increase digital infrastructure, solutions, and capacity in the government, industry, and society.

The aim is to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with every branch of government operating in a digital technology environment. Two important national databases will digitise information about the population and land, enabling e-identification and authentication to be in place by the end of 2021.

Other measures include capacity development and digital skills training for both government and businesses. Vietnam is set to rank among the top four ASEAN countries on the United Nations (UN) e-government rankings by 2030 – and among the top 70 worldwide.