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Vietnam driving consumer electronic sales in Asia Pacific: GfK

Half of all internet users in the Asia Pacific region purchased at least one consumer electronics product online in the past year, with Vietnam one of the region’s strongest drivers of consumer electronic sales, a recent study by GfK has revealed.

A man buys TV at an electronics store in Ho Chi Minh City.
Tuoi Tre


Eighty-five percent of consumers polled across the Asia Pacific have purchased an electronic item in the last 12 months, with half of them having made the purchase online, GfK said on Tuesday, citing its own survey findings.

Smartphones were the most bought item both online and offline across the ten markets surveyed, with India, Vietnam and Indonesia at the top of the list, according to the German market research firm.

“Within the Asia-Pacific region, developing countries like India, Vietnam and Indonesia have been strong drivers of consumer electronic sales in recent times,” noted Jake Shepherd, GfK’s head of retail in the region.

“The huge, yet largely untapped potential of the e-commerce industry in these markets is now growing rapidly on the back of deepening internet penetration and the adoption of connected technology.”

The Asia Pacific is forecasted by GfK to be the fastest growing region in the world for smartphone sales in 2016. The research firm also said that the explosion of digital devices and the proliferation of the internet has, and are still in the process of altering the way consumers in the region shop.

However, according to survey findings, although all product categories reported some online sales, offline sales still tend to dominate in most product categories.

For instance, while 69 percent of Vietnamese consumers bought a consumer electronic product in the last 12 months, only 20 percent made the purchase online—suggesting an opportunity for the remaining consumers to take their transactions online.

According to GfK, travel and bill payments are the two key areas where online has significantly surpassed offline transactions.

While half of all consumers in the Asia-Pacific bought a travel product online in the past year, only one in five used an offline channel, according to the survey’s findings. The highest incidence of travel-related sales was seen in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia at 69, 68, 67 and 67 percent respectively.

“Consumers tend to prefer acquiring tangible products at a bricks and mortar store due to the ‘touch-and-feel’ factor, and travel is a unique category that is unlike a physical product,” explained Jake Shepherd.

“Besides, the availability of a wide range of reputable online travel agents offering competitive prices at the click of the mouse makes it even more compelling for consumers to book their travel online.”

The GfK survey was conducted online between February and March 2016 with nearly 6,500 regular Internet users between 18-55 years across ten Asia Pacific countries and territories-Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The study provides a product level understanding of online and offline shopping behaviour (over the past 12 months as well as future intention) for 65 product categories, as well as ‘deep dive’ insights on the online purchase journey for smartphones, tablets and panel TVs.

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