In the US, Black Friday falls on the fourth Friday of November, following Thanksgiving Day.
In Vietnam, many online shopping websites have been preparing for their Black Friday since the beginning of the month with a series of promotions.
Lazada, the online shopping giant operating in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam, is also one of the largest e-commerce sites in the Vietnamese online market.
It is calling its year-end discount programme “The Raining Sale”. In just three days, Lazada announced that it had sold over 1.43 million products, three-fold last year’s figures.
The company also plans a special four-day promotion campaign for its Black Friday sale, lasting from November 24 to 27, reported news website enternews.vn.
The Black Friday concept has gone beyond e-commerce sites to include traditional shopping channels, but it is the former that has been more aggressive in reaching out to customers.
Other well-known local e-commerce sites like Tiki.vn, Adayroi.com, Shopee.vn and Sendo.vn have also been offering many attractive promotions for many products including household items and clothing, though the most anticipated sales are from apparels.
The success of e-commerce has a lot to do with changes in the purchasing habits of consumers.
Hoang Chi Mai of Hanoi told Vietnam News that she preferred shopping online. “I can easily compare prices of the same products offered by various online websites within shortest possible time, and not waste time wandering into different stores.”
Besides increasing the number and improving the quality of merchants and products, many online shopping platforms have also tried to reduce delivery times, which is a key factor in enticing clients. Furthermore, some sites allow customers to reject goods on receipt, if they are not satisfied. These factors are helping e-commerce platforms outdo traditional shopping channels.
Le Duc Anh of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s E-commerce and Digital Economy Department told news website enternews.vn that in 2013, the number of e-commerce companies’ registered accounts was just 1,923. By 2016 it was 10 times higher.
“As the number of enterprises involved in e-commerce increases, the e-commerce market will see increasingly fierce competition,” Duc said.
According to market research firm Nielsen, Vietnam’s e-commerce revenues reached US$4 billion in 2016. At the current growth rate, it is set to hit US$10 billion in 2020, accounting for 50 percent of the total retail sales in Vietnam.
With 45 per cent of the population now accessing the Internet, the e-commerce industry is looking at a highly promising future.
But, as noted earlier, the e-commerce battle is heating up, with foreign companies tipping the scales back in their favour.
In addition to lowering product prices, Lazada has announced four new centres to process orders from clients, minimising the congestion seen in previous years.
Despite being a heavyweight contestant, Lazada has said that it remains on its toes, with many new rivals coming on the scene, like Shopee Vietnam, which has been growing very fast over the last two years with a lot of supportive policies for sellers and buyers.
"We will continue to provide customers and sellers with better supporting policies in the future," Tran Tuan Anh, Operations and Chief Financial Director of Shopee Vietnam, told enternews.vn.
Lazada and Shopee have also forced local companies to fight harder to retain and expand their market share.
Tiki.vn plans to offer 3,000 incentives for orders placed during the year-end period, including 50 percent discounts, free delivery for bills over VND 111,000 and delivery within 2 hours for orders of over VND 599,000.