How Vietnam Is Embracing the Cashless Revolution

The number of people making mobile payments in stores is growing fastest in the country

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The world is going cashless thanks to digital payments. The emergence of online wallets has dramatically disrupted the payments landscape. As the e-wallet space heats up, countries like Vietnam are favoring digital payments over cash.


According to consultancy firm PwC's Global Consumer Insights Survey 2019, the number of people making mobile payments in stores is growing the fastest in Vietnam, where the survey showed that the percentage of consumers using such services in-store increased by 24 percentage points, to 61 per cent, in a single year.

In the Middle East, the percentage grew by 20 percentage points, to 45 per cent. Globally, 34 per cent of consumers paid for purchases using mobile payment in-store, up from 24 per cent a year earlier. The survey observes that the mobile payment services are also gaining widespread acceptance, especially in emerging regions that have leapfrogged past landline-based telephone systems and gone straight to mobile and smartphones. In addition, China leads the pack with 86 per cent of its population tapping mobile payments, followed by Thailand at 67 per cent.

The study surveyed more than 21,000 respondents from 27 territories, which included six Southeast Asian markets and Australia, Canada, Germany, and the UK.

Going Digital

The survey findings attest to the steady encroachment of digital technologies into every corner of consumers' lives.

"For example, the percentage of respondents who buy something online weekly or morefrequently rose five percentage points year-over-year, to 31 per cent, and the share of consumers who never shop online fell by three percentage points," the report says.

The findings also confirm that smartphones have become the go-to technology for online shopping, with 24 per cent of global sample using a mobile phone to shop at least weekly, compared with 23 per cent using a PC and 16 per cent using a tablet.

As consumers become more familiar with and trusting of digital technology, they are going online for other services, too. More than half (51 per cent) of survey respondents paid bills and invoices online in 2018, and the same percentage transferred money online. Cord-cutting is increasingly popular, too, with 54 per cent of those surveyed streaming movies and TV two times a week or more. Generation Z leads this trend.

More than 50 per cent said they stream entertainment once a day or more frequently. Many younger consumers also go to online sources first for news and current affairs and 39 per cent of them said they go directly to social media for information, compared with 25 per cent overall.