Increasing Mobile Internet Use in Vietnam to Open Up New Market Areas

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By Edward Barbour-Lacey

HCMC – The recent Global Connected Consumer Study 2014 has revealed startling information about Vietnamese internet habits. Of particular note is that smart phone penetration has been increasing rapidly, and this has the potential to open up new market areas, such as mobile banking.

The study, which was run by the TNS market research company and supported by Google, was conducted at the beginning of this year and covered 56 countries, including Vietnam.

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Not surprisingly, young people aged 16-24 made up the fastest growing segment of smartphone users, with almost double the level of growth in 2014 (58 percent) as was seen in 2013 (27 percent).

Other key findings of the study include:

  • 80 percent of Vietnam households have a mobile phone
  • A 36 percent increase in the number of Vietnamese people using smartphones (2013 saw an increase of 20 percent)
  • 24 percent of Vietnamese access the internet via their smartphones
  • 25 percent of Vietnamese own two mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones or tablets
  • 76 percent use smartphones to access the Internet
  • 59 percent use laptops to access the internet
  • 61 percent use tablets to access the internet
  • 44 percent of the population use desktop PCs

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Also revealed by the study was the fact that Vietnamese spend around 85 percent of their time online watching videos – this makes Vietnam the third highest out of the countries studied for online video viewership.

Additional key findings of consumer buying behavior included:

  • 93 percent search for information on the Internet;
  • 69 percent often search online for information about products;
  • 42 percent compare prices online
  • 28 percent purchase products online

From Mobile Phones to Mobile Banking

Due to its fast increasing levels of mobile users, Vietnam is one of the key countries singled out as a growth location for mobile banking.  Helping this trend is the fact that many Vietnamese do not have prior experience with traditional banking systems, and thus there is very little in the way of switching costs for these potential customers.  Additionally, even if they may want to, many Vietnamese may not have convenient access to traditional banks. Mobile banking can quickly fill this niche and should see strong growth as their customers move up the economic ladder.

The TNS study covered a number of countries, such as Vietnam, China, Mexico, and South Africa, and found that, of the people in these countries, 41 percent of mobile users had no previous access to banking services. A growing percentage of respondents have expressed interest in using mobile banking to pay their bills online and for receiving their salary. However, companies interested in taking advantage of these opportunities must be prepared to educate their customers – almost a third of respondents stated that they did not know how to use mobile banking services.

Asia Briefing Ltd. is a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. Dezan Shira is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Singapore and the rest of ASEAN. For further information, please email vietnam@dezshira.com or visit www.dezshira.com.

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