HCM City (VNA) – E-commerce has rocketed in Vietnam over the past five years, with online retail sales expanding 20 percent annually, according to the Department of E-commerce and Digital Economy under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Le Thi Ha, head of the department’s policy office, said Vietnam’s e-commerce retail sales had reached 6.2 billion USD as of late 2017, with e-commerce accounting for about 3.6 percent of the country’s total consumer revenue.

The Vietnamese e-commerce market is expected to hit 10 billion USD by 2020, meaning each person will spend about 350 USD on online shopping per year, she said.

Infographics: VNA

E-commerce in Vietnam has been seen as one of the fastest-growing markets in Southeast Asia, with transactions conducted not only via websites, but also through shopping applications on mobile phones and e-commerce platforms. Meanwhile, the number of Vietnamese smartphone users is also on the rise.

Statistics show that consumers shopping on mobile phones increased from 6 percent in 2013 to 41 percent in 2017, and websites with mobile phone versions also rose from 15 percent in 2013 to 72 percent last year.

E-commerce has become an option for both urban and rural residents.

However, the scale of e-commerce transactions has remained small in comparison with other countries and the value is still low in relation to regional and global averages, according to Nguyen Thanh Hung, President of the Vietnam E-Commerce Association.

He pointed out that with a population of 90 million and a high rate of young Internet users, Vietnam holds great potential to develop its e-commerce market in the time ahead.

Furthermore, e-commerce in rural areas should be a target for major businesses, he said, noting that cross-border e-commerce has also opened up opportunities for Vietnamese products and services to further their reach around the world.

However, the rapid growth of e-commerce in Vietnam has posed challenges to State management work and caused a range of issues during transactions. As such, experts have suggested changes in management in order to help e-commerce develop healthily, benefiting both businesses and the community.

Ha underlined the need to review policy infrastructure on e-commerce and amend the 2005 Commerce Law to supplement framework regulations on e-commerce, including operational regulations and the rights and obligations of stakeholders in the industry. –VNA