HCM CITY — A decline in exports is seeing Vietnamese textile and garment firms focus on the domestic market.
Despite the economic downturn, their local sales remain on an upward trend, according to the Viet Nam Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex).
Many, like Viet Thang and Phong Phu, have reported revenues of VND1 trillion (over US$47.6 million) and more from domestic sales.
The domestic market was very promising, Vinatex said following a survey, with consumer spending on surveyed people's clothes being only behind that on food.
The average monthly spending on fashion items was VND150,000-500,000 per capita among the surveyed group, or 18 per cent of their total spending, it said.
Around 70 per cent of people went shopping for clothes for at least two or three times a month, it added.
As a result, the company's deputy general director Nguyen Tien Truong said, despite the tight credit situation, the garment sector was growing at a fairly good clip.
Garment companies have expanded in the local market by enlarging their distribution system. As a result, Vietnamese-made garment products are becoming popular everywhere in the country.
VinatexMart has become the leading retailer of Vietnamese-made textile and garment products. Its major garment subsidiaries such as May 10, Viet Tien, Phong Phu and Nha Be each have more than 1,000 retail outlets all over the country.
"Expanding the local market through brand development, expansion of distribution, design diversification is the key to May 10's success," the company's executive director Than Duc Viet said.
May 10 products are extremely popular and widely available.
Garment makers are returning to the domestic market following export difficulties because of the global economic woes.
But, despite their improving status, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) warned that they have a long way to go to catch up with foreign producers or get a firm foothold in the domestic market.
The Vietnamese garment market is expected to be worth $6-7 billion in 2015, but not many domestic companies have managed to get a reasonable share of this pie.
Only a handful of companies have 1,000 or more retail outlets, and just a small number of brands like Foci, Blue Exchange, and Ninomaxx can boast of even moderate sales or are popular with young consumers.
The market is currently dominated by China-made knockoffs of international brands.
MoIT said to retrieve a share of the market and be able to compete with foreign products, Vietnamese producers have to develop their own brands and designs, reduce dependence on imported materials, and strengthen production and distribution.
The industry faced a big problem with reliance on imports, deputy general secretary of the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association Nguyen Van Tuan, admitted at a conference earlier this week.
Garment companies also need to fully understand domestic consumers' preferences and make them aware of the high quality of Vietnamese-made products, Vinatex's Truong said. — VNS