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Online shopping sees rapid growth given COVID-19 epidemic in Vietnam

Sunday, March 15, 2020, 18:13 GMT+7
Online shopping sees rapid growth given COVID-19 epidemic in Vietnam
Online shoppers receive their deliveries in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: T.T.D. / Tuoi Tre

Online shopping in Vietnam has grown by at least 20 percent over the past few months amidst the complicated development of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic.

An increasing number of people in the Southeast Asian country have opted for online shopping as a way to protect themselves from the disease that transmits via respiratory droplets.

A representative of Vietnamese retailer Saigon Co.op said that orders placed on phone calls and its official website have ascended tenfold compared to normal days.

Vietnam's leading e-commerce site Tiki also reported strong growth in the first two months of this year, with sought-after products being face masks, wet tissues, and air purifiers.

“During peak periods, our orders can reach 3,000-4,000 every minute. We have to continuously restock a lot of merchandise,” a representative elaborated.

Lotte Mart, which manages e-commerce site SpeedL, saw a 100-200 percent surge in orders, and is now mobilizing more personnel for the online shopping platform.

Many e-commerce sites such as Shopee have added more necessities, namely rice, dried food, and canned food to meet the rising demand amid the epidemic.

A man receives the food he had ordered online in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

A man receives the food he has ordered online in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

According to Nguyen Ngoc Dung, vice-president of the Vietnam E-Commerce Association, as more people are shying away from going to supermarkets and shopping malls to avoid viral infection, online shopping has become the most viable way for them to purchase what they need.

A survey by Nielsen showed that 50 percent of Vietnamese citizens have lowered their frequency of visits to supermarkets, grocery stores, and traditional markets due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

“I know online shopping is not completely safe. That’s why I always wash my hands thoroughly after receiving a delivery,” said Hoai Thanh, a resident in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City.

The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 156,000 people and killed more than 5,835 globally as of Sunday afternoon, according to Ministry of Health statistics.

Vietnam has so far confirmed 53 cases of coronavirus infections, with 16 having fully recovered and been discharged from the hospital.

Thirty-seven cases have been reported in the Southeast Asian country since Friday last week after Vietnam had gone three weeks without any new infection.

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