HO CHI MINH CITY -- Vietnam's e-commerce sales expanded 37% in 2015 to over $4 billion -- nearly 3% of total national retail -- and are expected to hit $10 billion in the next five years.
According to a report in April by the Vietnam E-Commerce and Information Technology Agency (VECITA), there were more than 10,000 e-commerce platforms and websites registered by 2015, doubling the number from 2014.
Among the largest in terms of sales were Rocket Internet's Lazada, chodientu, Hotdeal, Vietnam Airlines, and The Gioi Di Dong.
VECITA reported that 45% of Vietnamese consumers are already connected to the internet, and they spent on average $160 shopping online last year -- $15 more than in 2014.
Clothing, footwear, and cosmetics together contributed 64% of online purchases, outstripping electronics, household appliances, and other categories.
Cash remains the main payment method with over 90% of e-shoppers surveyed saying they usually paid offline upon delivery. Only about 20% said they used credit cards on occasions.
Among barriers to shopping online, respondents cited poor quality products (73%), high prices (61%), poor delivery (45%), and fear of private information leaking (38%). Although only 44% said they were basically satisfied with available e-commerce, 95% said they intended to carry on in future.
One of those is Tra My, an office worker in Ho Chi Minh City, who started shopping online last year for shoes and cosmetics based on pointers she found on Facebook, Vietnam's most popular social network. Quality was reasonable, and she liked the free exchange options.
"I ordered products online and paid online, and they were delivered to my door," said Tra My. "It's convenient for people like me, and these days it is quite simple to find sites you can trust in online newspapers."
A separate survey of 500 consumers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City found 88% using mobile devices to research items and services, and 45% searching at least once a day. Enterprises have been promoting m-shopping with new or improved mobile interfaces on their websites, which increased to 21% in 2015 from 15% in 2014.