Vietnam’s retail market is forecast to be the fastest-growing in Southeast Asia in 2017 led by Japanese and Korean retail giants.

Foreign retail conglomerates are beating a path to Vietnam which is seen as a potential shopping mecca with rising demand due to its favourable demographics. American consulting firm Boston Consulting Group predicts that the middle and upper classes will double in size by 2020. Additionally, credit cards are being more widely used and more people are drawing monthly incomes of over USD714 which are the main target of retailers. Better infrastructure and an increasing number of foreign tourists also play a part in attracting big name foreign retailers into Vietnam.

Estimates from The Economist Intelligence Unit show that Vietnam’s retail market has witnessed healthy growth of approximately 10% annually in recent years, with sales growing by about 90% from 2009 to 2015. The market is expected to be the fastest growing in Southeast Asia this year.


Currently, malls, supermarkets or commercial centres which are often located in major city centres make up only 25% of total retail sales. This is predicted to rise to 45% by 2020 by which time it is projected that there would be about 1,200- 1,300 supermarkets and more than 300 large malls, and thousands or even tens of thousands of convenience stores.

“The market is becoming more attractive recently on the back of a rise in purchasing power, growth in consumer retail spending, and an expansion in urban population and young demographics,” says Stephen Wyatt, Country Head of JLL Vietnam. It has continually been among the world’s Top 30 most attractive emerging retail markets since 2008 in the Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) published annually by AT Kearney from the US.

Last year, the General Statistics Office has estimated Vietnam’s retail revenue at US$118 billion, a 10.2% rise over the previous year, and relatively higher than other markets in the region. 2016 also saw the retail network continuing to expand, business models diversified, and mergers and acquisitions of retailers increased, especially with foreign involvement.

For example, Thailand’s Central Group acquired Big C supermarket chain from French retail group Casino in Vietnam, with plans to double the number of stores from the current 34 in the next five years. It also plans to upgrade existing Big C stores into commercial complexes.

Not to be outdone, other foreign big retail groups like Japan’s Aeon, France’s Auchan and South Korea’s Lotte have been going on an expansion spree in Vietnam to increase market share.

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At the same time, foreign convenience stores also increased their presence such as Circle K, Shop & Go, Family Mart and Ministop, with hundreds of stores for each brand. Such fierce competition has so far left some domestic casualties such as Maximark, Citimart, and FiviMart. The remaining local retailers are diversifying their retail model in order to survive, according to analysts.



The South Korean conglomerate the Lotte Group is building a second shopping mall in Hanoi named Ciputra Hanoi Mall. It will span 7.3 ha within a 200,000 sq m complex, which will house a department store, a supermarket and a cinema, all to be directly operated by Lotte affiliates. Lotte is already operating Lotte Department Store Hanoi and Diamond Department Store in Ho Chi Minh City.

It basically covers all retail channels: supermarkets, TV sales, online and mobile. In October 2016, Lotte launched an e-commerce site with the goal of cornering 20% of the online market in Vietnam.


The biggest retail group in Japan, Aeon Mall is also opening a second shopping mall in Hanoi and its fifth in Vietnam, temporarily called Aeonmall Ha Dong. It is expected to occupy 95,000 sq m in Ha Dong district, when it opens in 2019.

It has already opened 3 shopping malls in the south: Aeon Mall Tan Phu Celadon and Aeon Mall Binh Tan in HCMC’s Tan Phu and Binh Tan districts; and Aeon Mall Canary Binh Duong in Binh Duong province’s Thuan An town.[/ihc-hide-content]

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