The internet, social network and mobile phone will open new opportunities for Viet Nam 's retail industry as consumers choose more high-tech products, according to an industry official.

"Retailers who are not concerned about the use of the internet or social networks in marketing communication will be out of the current global digital battle," said
Dinh Thi My Loan, general secretary and vice-chairwoman of the Vietnam Retailer Association.

Loan spoke at the Vietnam Forum-Consumer in Focus organised on Dec. 6 by the Nielsen Company. It discussed influences on consumption and retailers' strategies for changes in consumer purchases.

According to FTA Market Research and Consultant Co, consumers have shown interest in sectors that use digital marketing, including textile and garments, fashion, household appliances, cosmetics and travel services.

Under the impact of science, technology and e-commerce, online shopping and TV shopping will become more popular with customers, she said.

As of May this year, there were nearly 640 supermarkets and 100 shopping centres.

Traditional retail channels will have to adapt vigorously to compete with modern retail channels.

Markets will have to be spacious and traders will need to be equipped with better sale skills.

By the end of last year, the country is expected to have nearly 8,600 markets.

"Another trend is that the Vietnamese consumer next year will be concerned about reasonable prices and also promotion activities and safe products," she said.

Retailers should focus on offering green or safe products, which will help give them a competitive advantage over other competitors at a time when there is increasing alarm about food safety and hygiene.

Moreover, retailers need to conduct research about consumer trends so they can develop appropriate strategies to cater to diverse demands.

They should also expand networks and improve service quality to modernise the domestic industry sector.

Amid current inflation, retailers should also be more cautious in building strategies for maximising cost savings, and develop plans for goods purchasing, storage and promotions.

Chang Park , executive director of analytics and consulting of Nielsen Greater China, said modest economic growth and pressure from rising electricity and fuel prices had influenced Vietnamese consumer confidence and caused a drop in consumption.

According to a Nielsen survey, Vietnam consumer confidence stood at 96 points for the third quarter of this year, dipping seven points since the beginning of the year./.