Living in a pandemic: Boosting consumption or waiting to die?

September 17, 2021 | 09:00
At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic brings many challenges to the economy, Vietnam needs to quickly resume the consumer market to the "new normal" to minimise the “scar" the COVID-19 pandemic has left on the economy and society.
Living in a pandemic: Boosting consumption or waiting to die?
E-commerce is one of the safe solutions to stimulate consumer demand

The government is looking for a path to live with coronavirus after nearly two years of the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide. As the pandemic continues to linger, it is urgent for the government and policy-makers to find a proper solution to restart the economy. The many pilots over the past half year showed that it is essential to allow e-commerce marketplaces and online platforms to serve customer demand during the pandemic.

In August, Thu Duc City piloted a programme to support the purchase of essential goods through GrabMart. In just a few hours after the launch, more than 10,000 pre-orders were recorded. It is clear that the e-commerce partnership will help to reduce the burden on local authorities and timely support the needs of the people.

According to Ray Liang, chief operating officer of Society Pass (SoPa), the US operator of the Leflair e-commerce platform, shopping through an e-commerce platform will help consumers avoid movement and physical contact. It is a safe solution to live with the disease.

Besides essential goods, he noted that there should be online shopping programmes to stimulate demand for other consumer goods, including luxury goods. These programmes will help the consumer market to recover, thereby restoring production soon, reducing unemployment, and easing the burden on the state budget.

Ralf Matthaes, managing director of Infocus Mekong Research claimed that, “Considering that a third of Vietnam’s population has not been impacted by COVID-19 in terms of employment or income, it stands to reason that a portion of these same consumers still have an appetite and the means to consume luxury goods. Hence, growth, though not as high as pre-pandemic, will and should still be positive.

“Over the past 20 years, roughly 10 per cent of the population in Vietnam is earning well above VND100 million($4,350) a month. Though still small in income level, relative to many other Asian neighbours, very few countries boast a population of 97 million. Thus, the e-commerce luxury segment holds potentials for growth during the pandemic,” he added.

To stimulate consumer demand during the COVID-19 storm, Leflair has launched myriad promotions to mark its return to the Vietnamese market. Since the first days of the third quarter of 2021, Leflair's official website has run attractive Flashsale programmes at 8am every day, with hundreds of great deals from more than 500 brands. The promotions are expected to be last during the first month of sale. Many great deals are from world-renowned brands such as Gucci Perfume, Pierre Cardin Shoes, and Furla Bags, among others.

Living in a pandemic: Boosting consumption or waiting to die?
Consumers still have high demand for luxury goods during the pandemic

According to Ngo Thi Cham, representative of SoPa Vietnam cum CEO of shopping platform Leflair, promoting shopping on e-commerce platforms is one of the safe solutions to stimulate consumer demand. It not only helps to gradually revive the economy but also resume manufacturing activity, thereby generating job opportunities for millions of people.

“As an e-commerce platform familiar with fashion, beauty, and home decor enthusiasts, Leflair is connecting business partners with target consumers through our reputable online sales channel,” she said. “With Leflair's e-commerce platform, our business partners can instantly reach more than 2 million potential customers who are passionate about shopping for high-end brands.”

In addition, being part of SoPa's ecosystem, Leflair also inherits many technologies to help business partners to reach their target customers. The platform is ideal to run a variety of marketing activities to promote their products more efficiently, thereby helping partners maximise sales as well as deliver business values ​​in the fastest, most direct, and perfect way.

“SoPa is not only present in Vietnam but also in Southeast Asia and many other foreign markets. We believe that it is urgent to find a solution to restart the economy and bring the consumer market to the "new normal". Cash flows will continue to grow at a constant pace to stimulate consumption demand, thereby generating new jobs and increasing employment opportunities for workers,” she stressed.

According to the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2021 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), some 205 million people will still be unemployed around the world in 2022, up from 187 million before the pandemic started in 2019. Slow jobs recovery and increased inequality risk long-term COVID-19 scarring the socio-economic development of countries.

“Without a deliberate effort to accelerate the creation of decent jobs and support the most vulnerable members of society and the recovery of the hardest-hit economic sectors, the lingering effects of the pandemic could be with us for years in the form of lost human and economic potential and higher poverty and inequality,” said Guy Ryder, general director of the International Labor Organization.

On the same note, Ngo Thi Cham said that stimulating consumption has also become one of the bright spots to help the economy recover quickly, bring business and production activities back to normal soon, from there generating job opportunities for people in the society.

Over the past three months, in order to be able to relaunch Leflair, Sopa has recruited more than 40 senior personnel in areas from commercial, marketing to operations. Currently, open positions are still being filled. The job openings are expected to last until the end of the year with the growth of the Leflair platform.

“The return of Leflair provides job opportunities for hundreds of new people across different departments. We believe that investing during the pandemic and economic crisis has many risks but also entails many potential opportunities," she added.

Living in a pandemic: Boosting consumption or waiting to die?
The fast-paced development of e-commerce platforms generate new employment opportunities during the pandemic

By Thanh Van

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