Overview and trends of Vietnam’s e-commerce industry in 2023
Overview of E-commerce in 2023
The prominence of platforms and social networks
After two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese economy and e-commerce enter 2022 with many optimistic signals. However, the common difficulties of the global economy and many unfavorable factors domestically have negatively impacted the development of the country’s economy and commerce, especially in the last months of 2022 and extending into 2023. Nonetheless, continuing the previous two growth waves, the Vietnam E-commerce Association estimates that the country’s e-commerce will still maintain a growth rate of over 25% and reach a scale of over $20 billion.
According to the General Statistics Office, the country’s GDP is expected to increase by 8.0% in 2022. In which, the service sector is restored and strongly growing with a growth rate of 10.0%. Some service industries with high growth include wholesale and retail trade with 10.2% growth, warehousing and transportation with 12.0% growth, accommodation and catering services with the highest growth in the service sector with a growth rate of 40.6%, financial activities, banking and insurance with 9.0% growth, and information and communication with 7.8% growth. The total retail sales of goods and consumer services in 2022 are estimated to reach VND 5,680 trillion with a growth rate of 19.8%, if excluding the price increase factor of 15.6%.
The Vietnam E-commerce Association estimates that in 2022, the scale of retail e-commerce transactions will account for about 8.5% of the total retail sales of goods and consumer service revenue. In terms of online retail sales of goods, the proportion of online retail sales compared to total retail sales is expected to be about 7.2%, higher than the corresponding rate of 6.7% in 2021.
In 2023, according to the estimate of the General Statistics Office, the total domestic product in the first three months of the year increased by 3.3% compared to the same period last year. In which, the total retail sales of goods and consumer service revenue is expected to reach 1,505.3 trillion dong, up 13.9% compared to the same period last year, excluding the factor of price increase by 10.3%. The two fastest growing service sectors are accommodation and food services, up 26.0%, and wholesale and retail, up 8.1%.
Therefore, e-commerce continues to be one of the brightest, fastest-growing and most stable economic sectors.
The quality of websites and mobile applications is increasingly high
According to a survey, the proportion of businesses with websites and mobile applications has not changed much. One possible reason is that the number of businesses temporarily suspended or dissolved in 2022 and extending through the first quarter of 2023 is very high. Although websites and mobile applications have long-term business significance and enhance the brand, newly established businesses and household businesses may prioritize online business on e-commerce platforms or social networks.
However, the proportion of websites integrating online interaction features with customers has reached 78%, and among the two websites that have online interaction with customers, one uses an automatic chatbot. Notably, in 2022, the proportion of websites with a mobile version has increased to 22%. In addition to websites, the proportion of businesses building mobile applications for business purposes has steadily increased over the years, and among the three mobile applications, two fully support customer shopping activities.
Although the quality of websites has improved, businesses still evaluate that selling on social media and e-commerce platforms is more effective. This reflects the reality that besides introducing the business, products, and brand, maintaining a website with full functions of selling, payment, and delivery is not simple. For businesses engaged in export, for every two businesses with a website, one business believes that the website brings high efficiency. These businesses may have devoted more resources to operating the website than domestic businesses.
2. Trends in the e-commerce industry
Towards sustainable e-commerce development
The Covid-19 pandemic in 2021-2022 has contributed to creating two waves of online business growth in Vietnam. The impact of these two waves continues to spread after the pandemic is basically under control. Besides the imbalance among localities, the rapid growth of e-commerce has quickly revealed many other factors hindering sustainable development. Especially the negative impacts from e-commerce activities on the environment.
The media units have quickly realized these negative impacts and there have been many articles reflecting specific, clear impacts of excessive use of non-environmentally friendly packaging, bags, plastic bottles, etc. in online shopping in Vietnam. Even the media unit of a province with an average e-commerce scale like Vinh Phuc also clearly recognizes the level of environmental harm from this business form.
Some online businesses have taken actions to promote the development of the digital economy and sustainable e-commerce. For example, recently Lazada has carried out various activities towards sustainable development and environmental protection.
Specifically, in 2022, Lazada released an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Impact Report. Recently, Lazada has released a handbook “Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Packaging” for sellers on e-commerce platforms to encourage good practices that are friendly to the environment.
This handbook provides useful advice for sellers of all scales to package goods properly and efficiently, to save packaging materials, minimize errors, improve economic efficiency, and reduce waste to the environment. With the plan to introduce the first 100 electric motorcycles for delivery to reduce carbon emissions, Lazada Logistics has become a pioneer in logistics for e-commerce in Vietnam using electric vehicles for delivery.
In addition, this e-commerce platform has also collaborated with brands to increase consumer access to environmentally friendly products, such as the LazEarth campaign.
Besides bringing many benefits to users and contributing to increasing income opportunities for driver partners, restaurant partners, and merchants, Grab also implements many initiatives in fulfilling Grab’s mission: For Grab’s Community in Vietnam to protect the environment, develop green transportation, and aim to create a sustainable environment for the future.
According to Grab’s 2021 Annual Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report, carbon-neutral features and reducing single-use dining utensils on the Grab app encourage users to make “green choices” in their daily decisions. These features have contributed to planting 42,000 trees in the Southeast Asia region, reducing over 2,300 tons of greenhouse gas emissions through carbon credits, and reducing the use of over 774 million single-use dining utensils.
In Vietnam, through the Grab for Good Forest project launched in November 2021, in collaboration with the Support Fund and Sustainable Living Community Development Fund (Sống Fund), Grab committed to carbon-neutral contributions for the first one million Grab rides, initiating a project to plant 5 hectares of upstream forests in Thuan Nam district, Ninh Thuan province. Users can join hands with Grab and Sống Fund to reduce carbon emissions into the environment by choosing these features.
Contribute to carbon neutralization and choose to contribute 2,000 VND for GrabCar rides or 1,000 VND for GrabBike rides.
Some policies related to digital economy and e-commerce training:
- I. Decision No. 645/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister dated May 15, 2020 approving the National E-commerce Development Master Plan for the period of 2021-2025.
- II. Decision No. 411/QD-TTg dated March 31, 2022 approving the National Strategy for Digital Economy and Society Development until 2025, with a vision to 2030.
Information on Vietnam’s e-commerce industry is compiled from the “INDUSTRY REPORT” conducted by VIRAC. The full report will provide customers with in-depth analysis of the business environment, as well as the global and domestic market situation. In addition, VIRAC also offers some prospects, forecasts, and recommendations for businesses in the process of business and production.
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- Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank)
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- Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank)
- Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MB Bank)
- Unilever Vietnam International Company Limited
- Olam International