Consumers buy Japanese sushi at an Aeon Mall shopping centre in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnamese market has seen an increasing amount of Japanese goods winning locals’ predilection.

An array of supermarkets and convenience stores selling Japanese products have opened in Vietnam in recent years, including AEON, Ministop, Family Mart, Tokyo Deli, Gyu-Kaku and Osaka Ohsho.

Experts said Vietnamese consumers are ready to spend big on safe and high-quality food, products Japan has strength in. The revenue of safe vegetables sold at Japanese supermarkets in Vietnam has surged by more than 200 percent annually in recent years, and it is predicted to keep growing sharply.

Meanwhile, Japanese restaurant chains have also developed fast in a short period of time.

According to the Asia-Africa Market Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), Japanese products have gained the trust of global consumers, including Vietnamese, because they prioritise human health. Most people feel secure about product quality when they see the words “made in Japan”.

At first, goods from Japan only satisfied the demand of a small group of consumers with high income. However, many importers have purchased mid-range products from the Northeast Asian country to serve customers in other segments, helping Japanese products swiftly gain a foothold in the local consumer market, the department said.

Many convenience stores have restructured the Japanese products they sell, with high-end goods accounting for only 15 percent. This means hundreds of products priced at only tens of thousands of VND have won favour, helping Japanese goods stores remain an attractive destination in the local market.

Takimoto Koji, Chief Representative of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Office in Ho Chi Minh City, said Japanese firms consider each step before bringing goods to Vietnam. They firstly make surveys to see which products should be sold and how to persuade Vietnamese consumers to buy Japanese goods.

The number of Japanese convenience stores in Vietnam is less than 200 at present, but it will reach 500, even 1,000, in the near future. Then, the presence of Japanese products will increase even more substantially, insiders said.

Japanese companies prioritise convenience stores in Vietnam, said Yamanouchi Hirohisa, head of the marketing division of the Family Mart chain.

He explained that it takes a convenience store six years to regain its invested capital, but this is a good model to maintain product quality since the Japanese only compete by quality.

Additionally, some Japanese businesses said the Vietnamese market is growing and is open to new products. Therefore, by selling products on a trial basis here, they can find out difficulties awaiting them and work out solutions before importing in bulk.

Aside from opening supermarkets and convenience stores to connect local consumers with their goods, Japanese firms have also organised promotional programmes.

At a recent meeting with the MoIT, Japanese companies said Vietnam has a young population, about 60 percent of whom are under 35, with improving income. That has made the market attractive to foreign investors in the consumer, food and retail sectors.

Some analysts also partly attributed the growing presence of Japanese products to thriving economic ties between the two countries.

Statistics show that Japan currently ranks second among 126 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with 3,725 projects worth some 50.5 billion USD.-VNA