Vietnam embraces global shades of international glamour
The shopping streets of Hanoi and Saigon are brightly shining with new global fashion retail stores. Vietnamese and Chinese retailers are gradually making way for iconic global brands such as Zara, H&M, and Forever 21. Shopping centers that once offered only regional brands now shine as international retailer eye candy, reminiscent of New York’s 5th Avenue, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and Champs Elysees in Paris.
Due to a steadily growing economy, the Vietnamese consumer’s wallet continues to grow. That is why hundreds of foreign businesses are now studying how to enter Vietnam. As is the case with many frontier and emerging markets, this results in a new disposition among local spenders for foreign brands. European, U.S., Korean and Japanese automobile sales to Vietnam increased throughout 2016 and fashion retailers are now establishing their presence in large cities throughout the country.
Brands like Zara and Mango are becoming style staples in Vietnamese street wear, with many buyers purchasing products online and having them shipped to Vietnam. Shoppers state that they rarely buy Vietnamese goods during sales promotions because they are unsure about the quality or authenticity of the products. However, there is little concern when the designers are prominent foreign brands.
The fact that foreign retailers offer premium western fashion at discount prices in Vietnam only accelerates this progression. In fact, many offerings end up cheaper than their Vietnamese or Chinese counterparts. Brands like Zara, Mango, and Forever 21 make up approximately 80% of the foreign clothing purchases, whereas luxury designer brands Gucci and Louis Vuitton account for the other 20%.
H&M just opened its first store in Hanoi, covering 2,000 square meters and employing 100 workers. Zara’s first opening in Ho Chi Minh City saw a massive reception, with a deluge of foreign tourists, white-collar workers, and locals crowding its floors. Some shoppers had traveled 1,000 kilometers from Hanoi just to buy from the trendy Spanish retailer, Zara. Japanese retailer Uniqlo will also be opening in Vietnam this year.