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52 million Vietnamese online

Released at: 14:00, 03/11/2016

52 million Vietnamese online

Photo: Archives/Courtesy

Vietnam has the fifth-largest online population in Asia-Pacific, Google and VCCI workshop hears.

by Do Huong

Fifty-four per cent of Vietnamese people, or 52 million, are already online; the fifth-largest online population in Asia-Pacific behind China, India, Japan and Indonesia, according to the small and medium enterprise (SME)-focused “Go Digital” workshop held by Google and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on November 2.

The workshop aimed at helping local SMEs get the most out of the internet for their business development. The internet has transformed many aspects of daily life in Vietnam, including the way consumers interact with businesses.

At least 43 per cent of Vietnamese shoppers said they first learned about a product they purchased via online advertising, according to the Google Consumer Barometer. With an estimated 72 per cent of Vietnamese people aged 18+ owning a smartphone (up from 55 per cent last year), the popularity of online services is largely due to mobile.

Recent research from Google and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) noted that one reason digital is very valuable is that digital households in Vietnam account for as much as 83 per cent of the category value in everyday products like milk powder, diapers, body wash and drinking yoghurt.

Vietnam's MAC growth at 1.7 times by 2020

Source: BCG-Google Digital Consumer in Vietnam, September 2016

Secondly, digital households in Vietnam are younger, larger and more affluent than their non-connected neighbors. They are likely to be important influencers in their social circles and often the early adopters of products and services. This means they are more valuable to marketers. The research estimated that online households are 1.5 times more valuable than households that are not connected.

Online households account for almost 70 per cent of all FMCG spends in Vietnam

Source: BCG-Google Digital Consumer in Vietnam, September 2016

Thirdly, digital households in Vietnam are not restricted to urban centers. Close to half of all rural households are already online and internet penetration is growing at two to three times the pace in urban areas. This debunks a commonly held belief that digital marketing is an urban priority.

Despite the clear consumer momentum, marketers are still adapting to the shift to digital. The research estimates that total spending on digital ranges from 0 to 25 per cent across categories; around 2.5 times lower than the value contribution from consumers.

Source: BCG-Google Digital Consumer in Vietnam, September 2016

Two local SMEs shared their stories of finding success online during the workshop. Always, a health and beauty retailer and distributor, used Google’s smart, transparent ads to reach its target audience of 30+ year olds, who appreciate the finer things in life, as well as a great deal, with the company achieving a 12 per cent ROI (return on investment) across all marketing platforms and 80 per cent of its revenue came from Google AdWords.

HV Net, meanwhile, helps other businesses grow by handling their marketing and distribution so they can spend more time focusing on their core business. AdWords now makes up 65 per cent of HV Net’s marketing spend, achieving a remarkable ROI of 70 per cent, with 80 per cent of its website users coming via Google’s ads. The company started as a one-man-band but with average growth of 100 per cent for the last two years it has expanded to four offices around the country with 70 employees.

Google and VCCI shared tips and insights with Vietnam businesses that either have no online presence or are looking to take their digital presence to the next level both in Vietnam and the world. The workshop was the first step. They expect to help other companies like the two above to go global using digital tools and platforms.

Google has a suite of digital tools and products, many of which are completely free of charge and designed for businesses of any scale to succeed on mobile. These tools can help improve online discoverability and awareness all the way to managing sophisticated sales and marketing campaigns. SMEs can opt to manage themselves or get assistance from any of the 302 certified Google Partners in Vietnam.

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