Made in Vietnam footwear is the first choice for a majority of Vietnamese customers, according to the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (LEFASO).

The association says the finding comes from a recent survey that studied consumer behaviour patterns in five major cities and provinces: Hanoi , Ho Chi Minh City , Hai Phong, Thanh Hoa and Binh Duong.

The survey was an attempt to help enterprises keep abreast of market demand and develop strategies for product design, pricing and distribution.

The survey showed that almost two-thirds, or over 70 percent, of the respondents would purchase local shoes and sandals as their first choice.

The association said the survey also highlighted the growth potential of the domestic footwear market.
It found that about 65.9 percent of the respondent spent less than an average of 200,000 VND (approximated 10 USD) per month on footwear.

Twenty percent of the respondents said they were ready to spend 500,000 VND (24 USD) and the remaining said they would pay even higher sums on footwear per month on average.

Industry insiders said these figures indicate great growth potential since consumers appear willing to spend significant sums on their footwear, and this expense would only increase when income go up in the future.

Three well-known Vietnamese shoe brands most favoured by respondents are Biti’s, Thuong Dinh and Vinagiay, the survey found.

The survey also showed that Vietnamese consumers bought their footwear at retail shops (40.8 percent), footwear centres (28.3 percent) and enterprises’ own stores (18 percent). Consumers make their choices based on reasonable prices, quality assurance and convenience.

The survey finding indicates that despite their limitations in production capacity, design and distribution, domestic footwear makers have opportunities to expand their market share in the coming years.

Deputy General Director of the Binh Tien Consumer Goods Company Limited (Biti’s), Nguyen Duy Thanh, said footwear is a fashion product. So it is very important to keep creating new products and designs, especially considering the fierce competition from Chinese imports.

Each month, Biti’s needs to introduce at least 50 new shoe designs if the company is to survive, Thanh said.

In addition to improving product quality and designs, Biti’s has also increased investment in developing distribution networks and after sales services, he said.

LEFASO Deputy General Secretary Nguyen Thi Thanh Xuan said fashionable design is the Vietnamese footwear industry’s weakest point.

This could be seen in the fact that 59 percent of those preferring to buy foreign shoes said their choice is influenced by their design, she said.

To further expand their market share, domestic shoemakers should pay more attention to improving product designs and come up with effective sales strategies, Xuan said.-VNA