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The past four years have seen a busy journey for the e-commerce market in the Southeast Asian region.
A report from Google and Temasek showed the proportion of e-commerce sector in the internet economy was up to 32 per cent in the region this year.
The Vietnamese market in particular, the size of the sector is about US$2.8 billion, with annual growth of 87 per cent.
According to Google and Temasek, Vietnamese e-commerce growth rate ranked second in Southeast Asia, just behind Indonesia.
The e-commerce playground in Việt Nam for many years has consistently been a competition among Lazada, Shopee, Tiki, Adayroi and Sendo along with mega funding rounds and promotion programmes to attract consumers.
The e-commerce market was growing rapidly thanks to the highest proportion in the region of smartphone users and the number of online sellers was also high, said Pearl Nguyễn, head of Việt Nam Channel Sales at Google.
According to statistics from Google, it is estimated 3.2 million Vietnamese users annually shop online.
Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s E-Commerce and Information Technology Agency showed 70 per cent of purchases via social media were made on Facebook this year, up slightly from last year.
Facebook was more regularly visited by shoppers, with 77 per cent of online shoppers using it for purchases, compared to 5 per cent on Zalo.
Việt Nam’s e-commerce market is predicted to boom in the near future, given that 53 per cent of the population uses the internet and nearly 54 million people use smartphones.
According to experts, trade volume via e-commerce reached $4.07 billion in 2015, hit $5.1 billion in 2016 and $6.2 billion last year.
The figure is forecast to surge to $10 billion by 2020, giving Việt Nam a great chance to develop the digital economy.
A recent study by the Institute for Global Leadership under the US’s Tufts University showed Việt Nam ranks 48th out of 60 countries globally in terms of rapidly switching to digital economy, and 22nd in terms of digitalisation.
The United Nations E-Government Survey 2018 also pointed out that since 2014, Việt Nam has jumped 11 places to the 88th out of 193 countries and territories in the e-government development index. It also ranks sixth in ASEAN, behind Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Brunei.
Đặng Hoàng Hải, head of the MoIT’s Department of E-Commerce and Digital Economy, admitted that infrastructure for the digital economy, including electronic payment, distribution, human resources, information technology and security and safety remained limited.
"Most Vietnamese firms, including e-commerce ones, don’t pay attention to the rapid changes of modern technology," he said.
Experts have called for more investment in technology and human resources amid the fourth industrial revolution. Apart from virtual technology, artificial technology and blockchain are breakthrough technology trends which are applicable in many fields.
Analysts have forecast around 30 per cent of Việt Nam’s population will shop online by 2020, spending an average $350 per person each year.
In particular, social e-commerce is set to thrive next year, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quốc Hưng said apart from refining the national e-commerce payment system, it was necessary to issue favourable mechanisms and optimise business models to effectively use smart supply chain as well as manage intellectual property.