|Clients buy rice at a convenience store in Ha Noi. Consumers now prefer mini-marts due to their tightened budgets. — VNA/VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HCM CITY (VNS)— Online shopping websites and mini-supermarkets offering inexpensive products have become popular with consumers, Lao Dong (the Labour) newspaper reported yesterday.
Because of the sluggish economy, customers have tightened their budgets and have seen luxury brands as less indispensable.
In Ha Noi, many essential commodities such as fish sauce and detergent are sold VND5,000-15,000 cheaper online and in mini-marts than in big supermarkets. The customers enjoy even more discounts if they buy a large volume.
At big supermarkets in Ha Noi such as Minh Hoa, Intimex and Fivimart, pressures from rental prices, labour costs and many other expenses have caused prices to increase, more than in mini-supermarkets and small grocery stores.
For household appliances, consumers have been buying online more frequently.
Hoang Thinh, a customer from District 3, said that he bought a new camera in a retail shop in District 1's Nguyen Hue Street and a refrigerator on an online website.
He said the prices were more competitive online, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dong cheaper than similar ones in supermarkets.
Nguyen Minh Thu, deputy general director of Thien Hoa Furniture and Electronics Centre, said that online sellers have less to worry about than brick-and-mortar shops because they do not have to pay rentals, salaries for many salespeople and electricity fees.
Thu said, however, that consumers should only buy from reputable online sites.
Many shopping centres and supermarkets in HCM City have been offering discounts of 20-30 per cent, but they have not attracted customers.
Diamond, Vincom, Parkson and Zen Plaza are all quiet. Many customers come just for window shopping, eating and drinking and theatre-going.
Likewise, Vincom, Trang Tien Plaza and Parkson in Ha Noi have few customers despite sales.
Most major brands are offering deep discounts of 50-70 per cent and even those have attracted few buyers.
One customer, Trieu Thi Van of Ha Dong District, said she had often bought clothing from the Mango and Bonia brands but was now purchasing quality made-in-Viet Nam items.
According to a small shop, Minh Trang in HCM City's Binh Thanh District, the prices of Zara or Forever 21 brand dresses made in Viet Nam for export sell for millions of dong at luxury shops or trade centres.
However, at small shops they sell for VND150,000-200,000 each. The products include samples and redundant items or those that have been in storage for at least two years.
Big electronics and household appliance centres are also falling into a "crisis" situation, including Nguyen Kim, Vien Thong A, Cho Lon, and Pico Plaza.
Many household appliance centres have reduced their inventory or have moved to suburban areas to cut down on expenses.
For instance, Nguyen Kim and Media Mart Electronics centres in Ha Noi had to look to open a branch in Ha Dong District instead of Hoan Kiem District in the city centre.
In addition, nearly 15,000sq.m in Grand Plaza trade centre in Ha Noi is empty because there are no renters. — VNS