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Vietnam firms confident about anti-crisis strategies: Nielsen   2009-11-03 - Thanh Nien

Businesses in Vietnam are optimistic that sales promotions and expansion outside major cities will push them past the global economic crisis, according to the latest Nielsen survey released this week.



Though many analysts have pointed to a move toward premium products and services by the increasingly-affluent Vietnamese, many business leaders believe consumers will shift to cheaper products over the next 6-12 months, according to the online survey aiming to gauge sentiment among Vietnam’s top business leaders.

“We may see a trend where consumers become ‘promotional junkies’ – only purchasing products on promotion. Vietnamese are and will continue to be on the look out for sales and value-for-money deals due to financial concerns,” said Nielsen Company Vietnam’s Director Vaughan Ryan.

“Businesses will need to up their game – the key is to leverage value-for-money marketing and promotions to reach their aggressive 2010 growth targets.”

The survey said looking outside key cities was seen as crucial to manufacturers seeking to further growth.

Nearly 80 percent of businesses surveyed said they would look to rural areas for growth in the next 12-18 months while 64 percent had stated rural growth in their plans during a survey in March.

“Unlike the rest of the world, rural Vietnam is in many cases growing faster than urban areas,” Ryan said. “With more than 70 percent of the total population residing in rural areas, it’s crucial for businesses to have a strong presence there.”

Half of the business leaders surveyed said they planned to increase ad spending in the next 6- 12 months, up from 39 percent surveyed in March.

Over the next 12 months, senior business leaders are expecting to see double-digit growth in Vietnam, according to the second survey conducted from August 20- September 21, 2009.

“It will be quite a stretch for business leaders to expect double-digit growth when Vietnam’s 2010 GDP is estimated to be at a modest 5.5 percent,” Ryan said. “But the sentiment shared by business leaders shows that there is good momentum among many industries, especially for Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and they’ve planned well to ride out the recession and even see growth where many businesses are copping losses.”

Competition and pressure to meet growth targets had become larger concerns recently, 68 percent of the business leaders citing these as their top worries in September versus 40 percent in March.

But 70 percent of the business leaders believed business conditions had improved over a year ago, increasing from 40 percent in the March survey.

Companies were relatively optimistic as 76 percent of leaders believed conditions would continue improving over the next 6-12 months while only 35 percent thought so during the first survey six months earlier.

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