Last week, Viet Nam News asked readers what they think about buying international luxury brand products when the income of Vietnamese people has risen several times in recent years, and among the newly affluent, there is high demand for international luxury brand products. Here are some of the replies we received.
Hundreds of people spent all night at Sai Gon Railway Station with the hope of buying the last railway tickets to return to their homes in the countryside for the Tet holiday.
However, only a few people got lucky.
This scenario has been going on for years. Whenever special holidays approach, people become frantic about securing transportation, accommodations or tickets to public events or festivals.
What do you think about this situation? Have you suffered this situation in Viet Nam or other countries? Tell us about your experiences.
Do you plan to enjoy Christmas and New Year in Viet Nam? What are your strategies to minimise the above difficulties?
Does the situation of overcrowding at railway stations take place in your country? If not, how can such a situation be avoided?
Please reply by email to: email@example.com, or by fax to (84-4) 3 933 2311. Letters can be sent to The Editor, Viet Nam News, 11 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ha Noi. Replies to next week's questions must be received by Thursday morning, December 27.
Vu Ngoc Hien, Vietnamese, HCM City
Obviously, it depends on your income whether you can afford to be a fan of luxury brands. I prefer to buy mid-range brands if I have a chance to go overseas. Sure, there has been a growing trend of Vietnamese buying international luxury brand products; however, they are just a tiny fraction of the population.
In general, I do not think luxury brands are popular among Vietnamese, even for the upper middle-income earners, particularly because we all have to tighten our budgets these days. Vietnamese typically prefer inexpensive items even though more people have become more brand conscious.
You definitely need certain knowledge about luxury brands before being considered a smart user. The recent case of fake Gucci and Milano goods found in Viet Nam suggest that the quality assurance here is not good. Those who really know about luxury goods would not buy them in Viet Nam.
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi
I go out of my way to not wear name-brand clothes. If I see a ‘swoosh' t-shirt, shorts with 3 stripes or running shoes with a panther crest, I do a quick about-face. Too many people are drowning in debt.
My fellow Canadians love their gas-guzzling pickup trucks and large flat-screen TVs. Their waistlines are also expanding. Social interaction is increasingly online. I still use a bicycle to go to the library to borrow books. How quaint and old fashioned.
If I see a high-maintenance fashion-savvy girl, I turn the other cheek. I am like Jesus in that regard. In fact, Christmas has become more about commercialism. A Canadian newspaper reported that customers had to dodge around Christmas ecorations/products to try to buy Halloween stuff.
Viet Nam needs to embrace the modern world in telecommunications and connectivity. Keep selling pirated DVD's in plain view of the police if you want to. Just do not be like one of my IELTS students who are studying to go to Western universities. A practice question is "What is your favourite food?" His answer - KFC chicken balls! Yuck.
Do not show off your Apple tech products - you look sad and silly. You have joined a new cult and are in a pathetic downward spiral of judging others by their trademarks. You might as well get a corporate tattoo and make the sound of sheep.
Bah, humbug, I say. The world has not ended; it is now standing in the checkout line. Wear black like me and the late great Johnny Cash. Black is perennially cool and always comes back in fashion. Give me a fresh-faced makeup-free girl any day.
Tong Thi Bich Thuy, Vietnamese, Hai Phong
I actually love fashion and, honestly, I feel it is hard to say no to brand items, especially luxury brand ones.
Still single, I spend almost all my free time shopping and scrutinising clothes, bags and shoes of luxury brands such as Hermes and Louis Vuitton.
I am an assistant for a prestigious company's general director, and wearing luxury brand clothes, bags and shoes makes me more confident when meeting business partners and communicating with other people in the same position.
I often take the opportunity of going abroad to buy luxury-brand products. Sometimes, I asked my relatives or friends when they go abroad to buy me luxury-brand clothes, shoes or bags.
There are several reasons for this. First, you have more choices if you buy luxury brand products in foreign countries. Second, if you buy a luxury brand product in foreign countries - especially the home of the luxury brand products - the quality and even customer service is more reliable.
Besides, many cases where counterfeit luxury brand products were sold at prestigious outlets in Viet Nam have strongly affected my faith in luxury brands. We pay for authentic luxury brand products, but we receive fake ones. It's ridiculous.
On the Internet, we can see a range of offers for cheap luxury goods. But most consumers of luxury goods don't trust the Internet and are suspicious of products they see there.
For the luxury brand suppliers who want to enter into the Vietnamese market, I think that Viet Nam is a market with a lot of potential due to the young population, increasing per capita income and rapidly improving living conditions. Consumer's demand for luxury brands is getting higher and higher.
This means that domestic consumers' desire for luxury brands is quickly catching up with the global trend. According to a survey by Gucci– a luxurious fashion and leather product brand -Viet Nam is one of the markets in Asia with the most attractive growth index of luxury consumer goods.
Dang Minh Anh, Vietnamese, Seoul
Have you ever seen Confessions of a Shopaholic, a 2009 American romantic comedy film based on the series of Shopaholic novels by Sophie Kinsella?
If you have not, you should see it now! The message of the film shows how luxury brand addiction can be dangerous and land you in a lot of debt.
So, trust me, feel lucky if you are not a fan of luxury brand products. Although the income of Vietnamese people has been reported to be increasing in recent years, the global economic crisis continues and the national economy is still facing difficulties. Be a smart consumer. Know how to separate what you need and what you want instead of being a slave to luxury brand products. — VNS