Vietnam - Country Commercial Guide
eCommerce

Describes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and covers prominent B2B websites.

Last published date: 2021-09-15

Assessment of Current Buyer Behavior in Market

A recent report by Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade’s E-Commerce and Digital Economy Department shows that Vietnam’s e-commerce market recorded an estimated value of USD 11.8 billion in 2020, accounting for approximately 5.5 percent  of total retail revenue. This represents a growth of 18 percent against 2019. The market is also forecast to grow at an annual rate of 30 percent between 2021 and 2025.

Main drivers of this robust growth include progressive government policies, increased middle-income class and fast-growing internet economy.

In May 2020, the Government of Vietnam approved a national e-Commerce development master plan. This master plan aligns well with current Vietnamese strategies and policies on the Fourth Industrial Revolution towards the overall goals of developing a digital economy and promoting national digital transformation. The plan aims to promote the broad application of e-commerce in businesses and consumers, narrow the gap between major cities and localities, build a sustainable virtual market, and increase cross-border online trading. In particular, the Government of Vietnam actively promotes a non-cash payment society with the goal of increasing the cashless payment to over 50 percent by 2025.

The middle-income class in Vietnam has been growing steadily over the past ten years. A recent report by World Bank shows that the population of the middle-income class in Vietnam was estimated at 12.6 million in 2020, accounting for approximately 13 percent of the total population, and is expected to reach 26 percent by 2026. World Bank also estimated that roughly 1.5 million people were added to Vietnam’s middle-income class every year during 2015-2020. Their increased disposable income is expected to spur domestic consumption via electronic payment platforms.

Vietnam’s internet economy is booming due to fast growing internet and smart phone penetration. A recent report by Google and Temasek shows that Vietnam’s internet economy reached USD USD 12 billion in 2019, accounting for 5 percent of the country’s GDP and is projected to reach USD USD 43 billion by 2025. According to Internet World Stats, there are roughly 68 million internet users as of December 2018, posting penetration rate of 70 percent. In the meantime, according to Statista, a market and consumer data service provider, Vietnam had roughly 69 million smart phone users as of 2020, recording a penetration rate of is 71 percent, and is forecast to have approximately 82 million users by 2025. The high penetration of internet and smart phone users encourages and supports the strong growth of e-commerce.

The most popular products purchased online are clothes and footwear; consumer electronics, household appliances, and personal care products. Key e-commerce operators include Shopee, Tiki, Lazada, Shopee, Sendo and The Gioi Di Dong (Mobile World).

Vietnamese online-shoppers favor U.S products, especially technology and electronic products. Due to a lack of trust in local e-commerce platforms, Vietnamese prefer buying from trusted e-commerce sites such as Amazon and Rakuten. However, unclear government policy and regulation for cross-border e-commerce is an obstacle for those popular companies entering the Vietnam market. Therefore, customers in Vietnam who want to buy goods on Amazon.com have to use an intermediary service such as Weshop.com.vn (launched in 2015), and fado.vn (launched in 2014).

Local eCommerce Sales Rules & Regulations

E-Commerce is governed by Decree 52/2013/ND-CP issued in 2013. The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) is the regulator of e-Commerce activities. In September 2020, the MOIT issued the second draft of a decree amending Decree 52. According to LNT & Partners, the second draft has a few significant proposed changes, including one on e-Commerce activities on cross-border supply basis. Specifically, the second draft provides that offshore entities that establish websites with Vietnamese domain, or  establish e-commerce websites having transactions/ visitors/ orders from Vietnam, shall be required to:

(a) register/ notify their e-commerce activities in accordance with Vietnamese law,

(b) ensure compliance with regulations on consumer protection and to be responsible for the quality of products/ goods distributed via website by its representative offices or authorized representatives, and

(c) file periodically report on its activities, as well as other obligations in order to prevent transactions in violation of Vietnam laws.

Local eCommerce Business Service Provider Ecosystem

Under Decree 52/2013/ND-CP (Law on E-Commerce) effective from July 1, 2013, it is prohibited to take advantage of e-commerce to trade in counterfeit goods or trade in goods or provide services infringing upon intellectual property rights, or trade in goods or provide services in the list of goods and services banned. Domain names are also protected under this law. The Inspectorate of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the market management office, inspectorates of provincial-level Industry and Trade Departments and other state agencies may sanction administrative violations in e-commerce according to their responsibilities provided in the Law on Handling of Administrative Violations and relevant documents.

Resources:

Ministry of Industry and Trade’s E-Commerce and Digital Economy Administration: http://en.idea.gov.vn/  

Ministry of Industry and Trade’s E-Commerce Management Portal: http://online.gov.vn  

Vietnam E-Commerce Association: https://en-vecom.mysapo.net/