Moon cake market competition heats up hinh anh 1A moon cake kiosk in Hung Yen province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - A crowded moon cake market has caused a drop in sales for many stalls ahead of Mid-Autumn Festival.

The big day is on October 1 – the 15th day of the 8th month on the lunar calendar, but the moon cake market is still quiet. Popular moon cake brands like Kinh Do, Nhu Lan, Dong Khanh, Hanoi Confectionery and Thu Huong Bakery are traded on stalls in the most crowded areas in Hanoi and HCM City. Despite an increase in discounts and promotions, fewer people are shopping at moon cake stalls than last year.

Nguyen Thi Huong, the owner of a moon cake stall on Pham Van Dong Street in HCM City’s Thu Duc District has struggled this year.

“I have to use a 'buy 1 get 1' board to attract customers but some just stop to see the price list. Some still buy the products but they are much fewer than ever before," she said.

Le Minh Tam, who runs a moon cake stall on An Duong Vuong Street, District 5, told Tin Tuc newspaper: “At this time of the year, the number of moon cake consumers starts to increase significantly but this year the sales are very low.”

After selling its confectionery segment to Mondelez, Kido (KDC) announced its entry into the moon cake market in 2020 under the brand Kingdom. According to Tran Le Nguyen, general director of Kido, though the competition in the moon cake market has increased, there hasn't been a major change in moon cake production.

As moon cakes sell well at this time of year, hotels, restaurant and coffee chains have entered the market, while it's also a chance for housewives and office workers to earn some extra money with homemade products.

Tea and coffee chains such as Phuc Long Coffee & Tea, MyLife Coffee and The Coffee House have all joined the market.

While the price of a box of four moon cakes in most popular confectionery firms ranges from 250,000 VND (11 USD) and 500,000 VND, similar products in the chains go for 300,00 VND to 800,000 VND.

While the chains can't compete on price, they do have a baked-in customer base and offer unique moon cakes with a variety of specialities such as ginger jam, lemon, lime leaves, malt, dragon fruit and cheese.

Homemade moon cake producers, meanwhile, make smaller cakes and sell them at lower prices at 150,000 VND to 200,000 VND for each box.

Nguyen Thanh Quyen, a sales employee for an electronic firm in Hanoi, makes moon cakes to sell in the season.

“I use less sugar and make smaller cakes as I know many people just want a cake as a symbol of the festival. They don’t want to spend and to eat a big cake," she told Vietnam News.

Another reason for fewer customers at the stalls is because they have offered free delivery for safer shopping amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nguyen Phuong Mai, a Hanoian who ordered a box of Kinh Do moon cakes on Shopee, told Vietnam News: "I have both free shipping and a 25 percent promotion from the buyer while I still enjoy a brand I prefer."

Mai said she also saves time to bring the cake to her mother-in-law's home, adding: "Without COVID-19, I will do the same thing next year as it is super easy."

Together with e-commerce sites like Shopee, Lazada, VinID and SpeedL, supermarkets and moon cake brands also offer free shipping and festivals gifts to attract online customers.

Ly Kim Chi, Chairwoman of the HCM City Food and Foodstuff Association, said the entry of restaurants, hotels, bakeries and cafes in the moon cake market brings excellent products to consumers and creates a motivation for all to increase their quality and brands to gain customers.

“Though stalls look quiet, customers still spend on good products and reputable brands. Therefore, businesses that are constantly innovating and launching good products will retain customers and develop sustainably," Chi said./.