Vietnamese shoppers yet to shop online indicate they may try it sometime soon, according to a recent report from Google.
In the Online Shopper Insight Report released by Google in November, 44 per cent of Vietnamese who use the internet but never shop online said they expect to do so within the next 12 months. Apparel is the likely item they will buy online, 51 per cent said. Many Vietnamese people, it seems, are interested in trying online shopping for the first time.
Apparel, mobile phones, electronics and books are promising areas for growth. Apparel is the most popular category purchased online, bought twice as often as consumer electronics or books and magazines. Forty-eight per cent who purchased online last month bought apparel, 24 per cent bought consumer electronics, and 22 per cent bought books and magazines. But the average purchase price for apparel was one-eighth of that for consumer electronics. Phones and electronics are the most popular items.
Reasons for planning to shop online include word-of-mouth from friends and family encouraging non-online shoppers to try buying online, while convenience was more important than price in making them continue to shop online. The key benefit of online shopping is time saving, well ahead of price. According to Ms. Truong Thanh Ha from Google Asia-Pacific, e-commerce providers should emphasize and improve convenience.
Though the market has potential, the report also revealed barriers to online shopping. Wanting to try products in person and concerns about quality are the greatest barriers to online shopping. The desire to touch goods is a common barrier. Potential shoppers are also concerned about counterfeits and want immediate access to their purchases. Fifty-seven per cent of non-online shoppers like to touch or try goods before buying them. Forty-nine per cent of respondents said goods bought via the internet are more likely to be seconds or counterfeits, while 46 per cent said that buying in store gives them immediate access to the goods they purchase.
Non-online shoppers are also hesitant to buy online because they are not confident about quality and can’t bargain on prices. Forty-five per cent of non-online shoppers said they use the internet to search for information on products and services but not to buy. Forty-four per cent said they are not confident about the quality of the products they will receive, and 39 per cent cited an inability to bargain online over price.
Online shoppers also trust testimonials from family and friends. The Top 6 most important factors influencing initial purchases include: for 29 per cent, “If I know family or friends that have bought similar goods online and had a good online experiences.” For 12 per cent, “If I receive a guarantee/warranty with the goods.” For 11 per cent, “If the product was cheaper to buy online than in a store.” For 8 per cent, “If I can pay cash on delivery,” For another 8 per cent, “If there were substantial discounts compared to stores.” And for a further 8 per cent, “If I had a cash-back guarantee on faulty goods.”
Cash on delivery is the most common and preferred payment method for online shoppers. Seventy-one per cent use payment by cash on delivery, 47 per cent use ATM transfers, 32 per cent use direct transfers via internet banking, 26 per cent pay by credit card, and 17 per cent use a debit card. Online shoppers usually research products online, but very few of these convert to direct purchases, signaling a missed opportunity for advertisers. Of those researching online, 85 per cent researching on PC/laptop/computer and 72 per cent use mobile phones, of which 38 per cent using mobile phones or smartphones, with 16 per cent of these going on to make a purchase. “The number of online shoppers buying via mobile phones and smartphones will increase in the future,” said Ms. Ha.