Vietnam Offline Channels Successfully Embracing Online

Vietnam’s mobile phone market is dominated by offline distribution channels. However, responding to the changing times, offline channels have been trying to embrace the online mode, with some of them achieving big success.

Hanoi, the country’s capital, opened in late September after the COVID-19 lockdowns, while Ho Chi Minh City (commonly known as Saigon), the country’s largest city, opened a little bit later. While hugely impacting the economy, the lockdowns also pushed online sales to new heights. Retailers like Mobile World Group (MWG), which owns the highest number of offline shops in Vietnam, registered record online sales. According to an August financial release, MWG’s online revenue contributed 17.5% of its total revenue with 17% YoY growth, undoubtedly a big achievement for the offline channel giant. Thegiodidong (TGDD) and Dien May Xanh (DMX), the MWG chains selling mobile phones and consumer electronics, together accounted for 51.5% of the total group revenue.

MWG Revenue Share by Channel

TGDD, which means “mobile world” in English, built its standing in the market as a chain of stores selling mobile phones and related 3C products.

Mobile World Group Offline Stores Up to Aug 2021In July this year, COVID-19 started spreading rapidly in Vietnam. More than 70% of the offline stores and shops in the country had to be closed due to the restrictions. The situation worsened in August and September. In Saigon, the military had to be called in to enforce social distancing. Only essential stores and deliverymen were allowed to function in the key cities.

With offline channels dominating Vietnam’s mobile phone retail, the COVID-19 impact was severely felt by major OEMs like Samsung, OPPO and vivo, which had been mainly focusing on building offline retail in the country. Even Xiaomi, an internet brand, had to rely on national distributors to cover main offline channels. The lockdown surely made an impact on these leading brands’ distribution strategies.

In such a situation, offline retailers like TGDD and DMX, which had been strategically investing in online business for a while, reaped unexpected benefits. TGDD and DMX’s website experience is as good as pure e-commerce players in the mobile phone and consumer electronics domain. Apart from TGDD, there are offline store chains like Viettel and FPTShops which have also been investing in online stores at different levels.

With the easing of social distancing norms in many provinces and cities in Vietnam from the second half of September, retail businesses are expected to recover. However, even after regaining normalcy, the shift towards online will not stop.

Not just Vietnam, the whole of Southeast Asian mobile phone and consumer electronics market is heavily dependent on offline channels. But with the pandemic, the region’s leading e-commerce platforms in consumer electronics, like Lazada, Shopee and Tiki, have been reporting robust numbers. On the other hand, offline retail chains have been facing the most painful challenges. Online and offline channel constructions are totally two different business models, requiring two sets of strategies, teams and finance models. Thanks to the solid financial support it gets, TGDD has been able to develop its online business and hence limit the damage due to the lockdowns. Other store chains in the region, such as Jaymart Thailand and Erajaya Indonesia, are also keen to embrace the e-commerce era and the new normal.

For the market, it is a good sign that the distribution structure is evolving and becoming more diverse.

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Podcast: One in Three Smartphones Sold in the USA in April 2020 Were Online

The COVID-19 outbreak in the US resulted in store closures due to the lockdown and stay-at-home orders. As a result, the US smartphone market was down 21% YoY in Q1 2020. Moving into Q2 2020, the economic downturn and delay in tax refunds slowed down the smartphone sales even further. Nearly 40 million workers in the US applied for unemployment over the past few months. This is a strong base that buys prepaid devices, and a lot of them pay cash as they do not have credit cards.

As 80% of the stores were closed, we saw online smartphone sales grow from 13% to 33% in April 2020. That is a good growth after many quarters. But, is it just a temporary boost because offline stores were closed or are we are seeing a longer-term shift in consumer buying patterns?

counterpoint usa smartphone sales monthly

In the latest episode, “The Counterpoint Podcast” host Peter Richardson and Research Director Jeff Fieldhack discuss the growth of online smartphone sales in the US. The discussion also touches upon how carriers and national retailers are addressing the needs of their customers. While the US market contracted in Q1 and Q2 2020, Jeff also shared his expectations about Q3 and Q4 when Apple is expected to launch 5G smartphones.

Detailed data with monthly split according to country, price band, device type and sales channels can be found here. You can also visit our blog to read about the COVID-19 supply and demand impact on the US market.

Hit the play button to listen to the podcast

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E-commerce Contribution to Smartphone Shipments Reached a Record 38% in Q1 2018

Among e-commerce platforms, Flipkart leads the market with 54% share, climbed to 14% share while Amazon dominated the premium smartphone segment with 77% market share, thanks to OnePlus.

   New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, Beijing, San Diego, Buenos Aires –

 June 15th, 2018

According to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service, E-commerce channels captured a record 38% share of the total smartphone channels during Q1 2018, driven by exclusive online launches and strong promotions during the latter part of the quarter.

Commenting on the research findings, Karn Chauhan, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research said, “The E-commerce segment grew faster than the offline segment during Q1 2018. While the smartphone shipments in offline segment declined by 3%, online segment grew by 4% YoY. This is driven by the increase in the number of models launching on online platforms coupled with aggressive offers. Additionally, smartphone brands have now adopted a multichannel strategy instead of relying on a single channel for distribution of their products and this has increased the competition over the past few quarters.”

Commenting on the competitive landscape, Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research said, “India still has one of the lowest percentage of users who are connected to the Internet and shop online. This trend is changing rapidly as 4G data consumption has increased and more users beyond metro cities are geared up to browse and shop online. Hence, in an effort to target first time shoppers, both Flipkart and Amazon have scaled up their operations in recent quarters, especially in the smartphone segment which is a major value driving category for these platforms.”

Exhibit 1: India Online Smartphone Shipment Market Share by Platforms Q1 2018

India Online Smartphone Channel Share % Q1 2018

Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor Q1 2018

Market Summary:

  • The online smartphone segment in India increased 4% YoY as the smartphone market remained flat YoY in Q1 2018. Exclusive smartphones from Xiaomi and Huawei (Honor) majorly drove online shipments.
  • Flipkart continues its dominance in the online smartphone market with 54% share while Amazon holds second place with 30% followed by with 14%.
  • Close to 30 exclusive smartphone models were launched in Q1 2018. Attractive full-screen displays, high capacity batteries and AI features like face recognition were key differentiators for new launches.
  • Xiaomi led online platforms with a share of 57% during Q1 2018, followed by Samsung (14%) and Huawei (Honor) (8%).
  • Entry level and premium are the fastest growing segments in the online smartphone market. Entry level shipments were driven by Xiaomi while premium was driven by OnePlus.
  • Top five smartphones contributed to close to half of the smartphone shipments through online channels.
  • Huawei Honor 9 Lite was the only model in top 5 slowing down Xiaomi’s full dominance.

Exhibit 2: India Online Best-Selling Smartphones Share Q1 2018

India Top Online Smartphones Q1 2018

Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor Q1 2018

The comprehensive and in-depth Q1 2018 Market Monitor is available for subscribing clients. Please feel free to contact us at for further questions regarding our in-depth latest research, insights or press enquiries.

The Market Monitor research is based on sell-in (shipments) estimates based on vendor’s IR results, vendor polling triangulated with sell-through (sales), supply chain checks and secondary research.


Analyst Contacts:

Tarun Pathak
+91 9971213665

Karn Chauhan
+91 9816455600

Shobhit Srivastava
+91 9000831117

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