A shopper buys goods online. E-commerce revenue is expected to reach 10 billion USD in the retail sector by 2020 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam’s potential for e-commerce development in the retail sector could achieve a 10-billion USD revenue by 2020, accounting for half the country’s total retail sales. 

Data from the Association of Vietnam Retailers (AVR) indicates that in 2015, retail e-commerce surpassed 4.07 billion USD, with a growth rate of 20 percent.

Ho Thi Kim Thoa, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, told a forum on e-commerce and mobile phone technologies in Hanoi on December 8 that e-commerce was a vital development trend in the retail sector.

Thoa said last year, the growth rate of the retail sector was 9.5 percent. Traditional retail made up 80 percent, while modern retail including supermarkets, convenience stores and e-commerce accounted for only 20 percent. “Notably, in the modern retail channels, the portion of e-commerce was at a low level of around 2.8 percent,” she added.

The country had 217 e-commerce trading floors with total revenues of 1.66 trillion VND in 2014, double the 2013 figure.

“Vietnamese businesses have seen positive changes in e-commerce by big firms. The number of small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) participating in e-commerce was modest even though 97 percent of the country’s 600,000 firms are SMEs,” she said.

The deputy minister noted that the Prime Minister had promulgated a decision on master planning of e-commerce in 2016-20.

She gave the recent Online Friday on December 2 as an optimistic example of e-commerce development. The number of enterprises joining in the event this year was 3,000, higher than last year.

She urged businesses to catch up with e-commerce trends and have plans to enhance e-commerce development. 

Dinh Thi My Loan, AVR’s chairwoman, said there were many factors promoting e-commerce development, including the popularity of mobile devices.

Nguyen Thanh Hung, chairman of the Vietnam E-commerce Association (VECOM), agreed that the development of mobile phones and applications had contributed to promoting purchasing activities. 

Hung said the country’s e-commerce had been developing at a growth rate of 30 percent a year. “Businesses have quickly shifted from offline to online retail. Several are even totally doing business online,” he said.

However, Pham Thanh Cong  from Nielsen said the sector should have solutions to meet demand in rural areas as there are 1.3 million traditional shops, accounting for 85 percent of the retail sector’s revenue.-VNA