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Consumer buying habits change as online purchases increase in Vietnam

More food products have been bought online since the COVID-19 outbreak, online sellers have said.


More and more Vietnamese consumers are buying food products through online channels. VNS Photo


More food products have been bought online since the COVID-19 outbreak, online sellers have said.

A recent report released by online shopping platform Shopee said that Vietnamese had become more comfortable with buying food and groceries online, including items that are usually bought offline.

In April demand for dairy products grew seven times on their platform, the company said.

The top products include cooking oils, frozen fish, grains, nuts, dried chicken, and healthy fruit chips.

Vietnamese often go to traditional markets to buy daily needs like meat, vegetable, cooking oil, and rice. However, many have continued to order online, even now after the control of the outbreak in the country.

E-commerce is making it more convenient for consumers to shop for food items at any time.

Minh Thu from District 7 of HCM City now no longer goes to traditional markets because she orders all goods online.

This new habit was created during the social distancing period when she spent her days at home and did not go out.

Tran Tuan Anh, managing director, Shopee Vietnam, said: “Social distancing has been a big part of our lives, and we have seen major changes in the way people think about and shop for their daily needs. In particular, buying food and groceries has become ‘online-first’ as consumers view e-commerce as a one-stop channel for their needs. Sellers and brands are adapting quickly...We see this as a long-term evolution and Shopee will continue to lead this trend in the years ahead.”

Shopee’s report said that people are doing a larger share of food shopping online, with a 3.5-time increase in users who buy food items multiple times a month on their platform. This shows that people are shifting a larger share of food and grocery shopping online to reap the convenience of e-commerce.

Sellers and brands are adapting to this new normal by offering a wider variety of food products online and using live streaming to assure buyers of quality in real time, it said.

Shopee said people are also buying a wider variety of food items online, as they make lifestyles changes at different stages of social distancing and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The onset of social distancing motivated people to ensure ready food supplies at home, with demand for cooking and baking supplies increasing by three times.

As buying food products online becomes a norm, shopping activity is growing quickly among rural and male consumers.

Consumers outside HCM City and Ha Noi are also seeing e-commerce as a key channel for food and groceries because of reduced access to physical stores. Food shopping activity in provinces such as Binh Duong and Dong Nai has doubled in recent months.

Shopee's report said that male food shopping activity increased up to four times from 2019. Men appear to be doing more home cooking and grocery shopping in recent months, with snacks foods, cooking and baking as well as canned products, the most popular among male users on Shopee.

To meet the demand, brands and sellers offer food products online, creating more choices for buyers. They use live streaming to sell food products more effectively.

“The Covid-19 situation and social distancing measures have created major changes in consumers’ lifestyles, affecting how brands and sellers conduct their business,” Tuan Anh said. — VNS

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