Vietnam was slammed with a deadly fourth wave of COVID-19 infections between April and September. One of the strictest lockdowns was in place, so people in the country used tech platforms to kill time or connect with friends and family from a distance.
As of the first half of 2021, the pandemic brought 8 million new digital consumers online in Vietnam, defined as anyone who has paid for any type of online service, and 55% of them are located in non-metro areas, according to Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company’s latest report on Southeast Asia’s digital economy.
The three most popular apps in Vietnam during Q3 were Facebook, YouTube, and local messaging app Zalo, which is owned by tech unicorn VNG. Meanwhile, TikTok is catching up as the go-to platform for entertainment videos, according to a recent report published by market researcher Decision Lab.
To unpack the shift of consumer behavior brought on by strict lockdowns in Vietnam, the report, titled “The Connected Consumer,” draws insights from interviews with 1,440 Gen Z and adults in Vietnam from July to September. Here are four key points from the report.
#1. TikTok is the fourth most popular social media platform
TikTok was the only platform that managed to grow its user base during the third quarter of 2021. In all, 15% of the respondents said that it was the most indispensable app, compared with 4% in Q1 2020. Facebook, the most preferred app among Vietnamese consumers, lost users, with 48% of the interviewees opting out of the platform as their go-to social media app in Q3, an increase from 37% in Q1 2020.
Nearly 60% of the Gen Z respondents chose YouTube as their most favored video platform, trailed by TikTok (15%) and Facebook (9%).
#2. Netflix is set to become the most popular streaming platform by the end of 2021
Netflix is the only foreign player in the market. It is the second most popular streaming firm in Vietnam, with a market share of 22% in Q3. Local firm FPT Play maintains the most significant market share with 24%, followed by VTVgo (17%) and MyTv (6%). The report’s authors expect Netflix’s steady quarterly growth to make it the most used platform by the end of this year.
On November 11, Netflix announced its “free plan,” which will give Vietnamese viewers the chance to access the platform at no charge, free of advertisements, via their Android devices. The platform’s full catalogue is only available to paying subscribers.
#3. Zalo maintained its top position as the most preferred communications channel
With Facebook giving way to TikTok as the most popular platform for entertainment videos, Facebook’s status as a channel for communication and interactions with friends and families also declined among Gen X users, who were born between 1965 to 1980. More than 55% of Gen X respondents said Zalo was their most used communications platform, followed by Facebook (18%) and Messenger (14%).
#4. Lazada saw an uptick in popularity in Q3
Alibaba-backed Lazada’s popularity went up by 3% in Q3, mainly due to prompt delivery services during lockdowns. Sea Group’s Shopee remained the favorite platform in Vietnam during Q3, with 75% of interviewees naming it as one of their go-to shopping platforms, followed by Lazada (53%) and Tiki (31%).