Vietnamese say technology is taking over their lives – but most don’t seem to mind
How to convince Vietnamese consumers to purchase technology products and services? – Vietnam Tech Consumer Report 2020
Vietnam Tech Consumer Report 2020 – a tech consumer survey conducted by InsightAsia and Vero, finds surprising results and overall optimism, painting the way for post-Covid-19 tech resurgence.
Vietnam Tech Consumer Report 2020 – A consumer survey of tech consumers in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City has indicated largely positive sentiment towards the technology sector and high expectations among Vietnamese for technology companies to improve many facets of life.
In the survey, which was conducted across Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar prior to the Covid-19 outbreak by research firm InsightAsia and public relations and digital marketing agency Vero, 65 percent of respondents say that technology has an overall positive impact on their lives, compared to just 6 percent who said its impact was negative. This includes helping them perform better at work (reported by 84 percent), and positively changing their relationships with others (reported by 66 percent).
“We conducted this survey as a means to help our tech clients – most of which are from outside Vietnam – understand their customers better, as well as to provide some real-world data to back up the advice we give them,” said Vero ASEAN Director Raphael Lachkar, who is based at the agency’s Vietnam office. “Now we are sharing it to assist others as they work to recover business in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. As restrictions have largely lifted in Vietnam, we expect to see technology playing an enhanced role in everyday life, with the potential to reshape business conduct and consumer behavior.”
Positive on tech, with a warning for social media
One notable finding of the survey is that, of the three countries, Vietnamese were the most likely to say that technology is taking over their lives, at 66% compared to 39% in Thailand and 52% in Myanmar. While that may sound gloomy, it’s not necessarily. Vietnamese respondents had many positive associations with tech, including improved work performance, better relationships with others, relaxation, and stress relief, all of which were reported by over 60% of respondents. However, they also reported downsides, with the biggest being lost sleep, reported by half of respondents.
Other negatives were not about technology per se, but rather the apparent results of social media fatigue, as significant minorities (33-39%) reported experiencing more conflict due to social media, feelings that they are forced to use it and have lost control of their lives, and desires to take a break and disconnect. These rates are higher than in Thailand and Myanmar, suggesting that Vietnam’s social media uptrend may encounter a backlash.
As in Thailand and Myanmar, Vietnamese consumers put a premium on genuine tech products from reliable suppliers when deciding what to buy. Their preference for popular brands is even stronger than the other surveyed countries, at 80%, and they have an unusual fondness for easy refund and return policies, with 87% claiming these are a decision factor. The priority of installment and financing plans, meanwhile, is significantly lower in Vietnam, likely due to the legal requirement for retailers to offer these for high-value tech items, making them an expectation rather than a selling point.
Similar attitudes prevail in relation to tech services (i.e. apps and websites), as free trials, widespread usage, and ease of use and payment were the most popular decision factors.
These findings suggest that reputable tech companies would be wise to emphasize their trustworthiness in contrast with the bevy of fakes, knockoffs, and mislabeled items that can make shopping for tech a risky proposition in Vietnam.
Communication favors inspiration and video
In terms of communication efforts by tech companies, Vietnamese consumers appreciate news about discounts and new products and services more than those in other countries. They also have a strong preference for “inspirational stories” over all other types, nearly double the second-place preference for “educational stories.” TV is the most popular method by which Vietnamese become aware of tech products, which may seem surprising until one recognizes that the survey categorizes online video services such as Youtube under TV, reflecting the gradual replacement of terrestrial cable with online entertainment in recent years. In fact, the balance would seem to lean towards Youtube, as a majority of consumers say they compare tech products online more than half the time.
Tech Optimism for Post-COVID Vietnam
As people came to rely more on social media during enforced social distancing, and tech companies found growth opportunities and revenue despite the pandemic, some of these feelings and preferences may have changed. When posting the survey reports on their site, Vero said that they plan to conduct post-Covid-19 surveys for all three countries, to assess how attitudes towards tech transformed during the pandemic. Meanwhile, some companies made pro-social efforts that should aid their reputations – and speed their business recovery. For a few examples:
- Elsa, a Vietnamese start-up offering an English-learning mobile app, made its 3-month package available for free.
- Momo, the most popular digital wallet in Vietnam, encouraged people to “walk around their homes” and created a fund for medical associations based on their steps.
- Vietnam-based mobile music game developer Amanotes offered free upgrades to its premium service, granting ad-free access to all songs.
“From scheduling meetings to delivering meals, technology companies have embraced their power to connect people. During the COVID-19 crisis, these services have become the bedrock of our new reality,” said Barkha Narula, Research Manager of InsightAsia Thailand. “After the pandemic, we expect to see Vietnam’s homegrown tech industry becoming more competitive, while effective market communication and flexible customer support service will be the key differentiators that set companies apart.”
InsightAsia and Vero’s full Tech Consumer Reports for Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar are available here
Nhi Chau (Ivy)
Media Engagement Lead, Vero
(+84) 339 310 236