|Local products with an emphasis on health have been trending this year. — VNS Photo An Phương|
By An Phương
HCM CITY — Instead of imported wine and snacks, this year’s Tết (Lunar New Year) gift baskets are filled with distinguished local goods or ones with healthy, practical and meaningful value.
This reflects a rising trend in the local gift scene amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thắng Trần, 34, owner of a local dried shredded chicken brand, told Việt Nam News that 2022 would mark the second year that he has sold gift baskets with his own products.
“I used to group my dried shredded chicken, foreign wine, fruits and cookies together in typical Tết gift baskets, ranging from VNĐ400,000 to VNĐ1,200,00 (US$17-52). Although they sold well, local products have significantly developed in quality and packaging, so they have potential in the market,” he said.
“Thanks to all the positive feedback I received, I have become more adventurous each year, and introduced complete sets of gift baskets using my own products!” he added.
Compared to traditional Tết gift baskets, ones with local products tend to be more affordable. Considering the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic and how it changed locals’ shopping habits, affordability is definitely a plus when it comes to local Tết gift baskets.
“I have been able to secure hundreds of gift baskets this year. The pandemic has not driven people to buy less, yet has encouraged them to be more selective with available options. Quality products at affordable prices are locals’ go-to items these days,” Thảo Nguyễn, owner of a local coffee and tea brand, said.
“In addition to existing products, my team is coming up with three new limited-edition coffee and tea flavours for Tết gift boxes. The best premium set is priced at VNĐ899,000,” Thảo said.
With local brands, appealing and unique packaging is crucial to make them stand out.
“I have been working with two design agencies at the same time to come up with the most elegant yet fun design for the holiday season. It has been a tiring process but I am pleased when seeing final products. Most gift boxes are packaged in a corporate-friendly way in order to attract orders of large quantities from big companies,” Thảo added.
“Tết gift sets are no longer necessarily big in size but hold certain spiritual values. Keeping this in mind, my designers have incorporated meaningful messages on the gift box as a way to cheer people up after a year of ups and downs,” she said, adding that extra freebies such as envelopes for lucky money are part of the gift box as well.
Since year-end gatherings may be cancelled due to the pandemic, the budget can be spent on Tết gift baskets, Thảo said.
Due to locals’ concern over health, healthy, organic and practical gift options are very “in” this year.
At popular retailers and supermarkets, “healthy” gift baskets are usually displayed in the most prominent sites.
Ánh Lê, who works at a supermarket in District 3, said that locals do not send out gift baskets just for the sake of it but have in mind how these gifts can bring real value to the recipient.
“Gift sets with local products such as fresh fruits and produce sell out more quickly, together with practical ones such as rice,” she said.
“I have seen many people buy large quantities of rice, seasonings and even cleaning products and packaging them as personal gift sets for beloved ones. This is a great way to cut costs, and giving essential items can never go wrong," Ánh added.
Many agreed that the pandemic has altered people’s buying behaviour and the gifting scene has changed for good.
Many firms have added online platforms to existing selling networks in an effort to push more sales.
Nam Lê, owner of a small organic food store in Bình Thạnh District, said that he has made special dried fruit candies and nuts for Tết and put them up for sale on e-commerce sites such as Lazada, Tiki and Shopee.
“I usually sell them at my store for frequent buyers, but with sales being affected due to the pandemic, not to mention locals’ tendency to shop online, I decided to go the extra mile,” he said.
“I totally understand people’s hesitation when shopping offline for fear of being infected with the virus. Going online is a decision I would have made sooner or later," Nam said.
Selling items on e-commerce sites is among many businesses’ top choices as the sites can guarantee stable traffic and have trusted delivery partners.
Even though purchasing power is expected to be weaker than in previous years, there will still be opportunities for growth, many business owners said. — VNS