A multi-billion dollar market of Vietnam, yet still growing fast, mostly driven by the beer and the retail cofee and snacks shop sub-sectors.
The F&B services market is forecast to grow by over 18% this year to VND720 trillion (USD30.7bn). The market revenue is based on a total number of nearly 340,000 restaurants, eateries and coffee/tea shops – in both online and offline formats (Ho Chi Minh City accounted for nearly half). After an impressive rebound in 2022, the F&B [services] industry is poised to achieve “sustainable growth” in 2023 and the subsequent years.
F&B is also believed to be the base for the recovery of the declining real estate market. Experts say that when an economy struggles, investors flock back to industries that have stable demand, and F&B is an example. The shrinking property market would cause owners of properties in good locations to invest in F&B businesses in a hope to attract buyers and thus push up their properties’s prices.
Key sub-sectors of the industry are retail coffee and stacks shop, beer, dining restaurants.
Retail coffee and snacks shops
Leading players are expected to gain market share this year while small ones may undergo difficulties in growing or even stabilizing (without growth) in a year with anticipated economic recession. Coffee, tea and snacks shops are the spotlight of Vietnam’s F&B industry, being the new lifestyle of the youth. Highlands Coffee and The Coffee House are the best performers, having kept expanding their store networks over the past few years, taking advantage of the strong brand equity. New brands have recently entered the market, such as Phe La, Katinat Saigon Kafe, Piko Coffee, Uncle Tetsu, launched by established players
According to a recent survey, Vietnamese consumers are ready to pay US$1,7-2.0 for a single non-alcohol beverage (coffee/ tea/ juice/ etc.) or snack, and 500,000 VND on special occasions. Over 77% of consumers said they would continue to spend at this rate or more in 2023.
Vietnam is Asia’s top beer consumer. The beer market alone was worth around US$8 bn in 2022 and is expected to be worth about US$10 billion in 2025. However, the pace of growth is slowing down. Annual growth between 2020-2025 is forecast to be 5.6% per annum versus 8.8 percent per year registered in 2015-2019. Heineken Vietnam (joint venture between Heineken and Satra, owner of Heinenken and Tiger brands), Sabeco (recently acquired by a Thai group, owner of Saigon Beer brand), Habeco (locally-own, owner of Hanoi Beer brand. Together, the three own more than 80% of market share.
One of the noticeable trends is the shift toward the consumption of lo-alcohol beer and craft beer with common brand names, such as Heineken, Belgo or BiaCraft. Many Vietnamese adult men drink beer at least once a week or every time they want to celebrate an occasion or share a sorrow.
- Long-standing consumption trends
The Vietnamese people spend a sizeable portion of their incomes on food and drink especially for eating out. Estimates suggest that somewhere between 20 percent to 48 percent of household income is spent on food and beverage consumption. Vietnam is also Asia’s top consumer of beer, coffee, [milk] tea.
Many adult men drink beer at least once a week or every time they want to celebrate an occasion or share a sorrow.
- Fast-growing middle-class population and sizeable youth demographic.
As of today, Vietnam’s middle-class population is estimated around 46 mil – equivalent to 46% of the population. This middle class is further expected to grow, spreading out geographically and becoming more diverse. And, by 2030, the size of Vietnam’s middle class is forecast to hit 95 million. 25% of Vietnam’s population (equivalent to 25 mil people) are aged between 16 and 30, and over 20 percent of the population are under 14.
As Vietnam’s middle class grows, and disposable incomes rise across all sectors of the population, greater spending power will further spur demand within the food and beverage industry, particularly eating out.
Moreover, as noted earlier Vietnam is a relatively young country, which will influence future growth prospects, such as the emergence of new culture and lifestyle trends that balance local norms with global preferences.
Tourism is another sizeable contributor to Vietnam’s food and beverage industry. Tourists spend an average of 23.7 percent of their budget on food and drink while in Vietnam. However, there is a big difference in spending between local tourists and foreign tourists. Foreign tourists comprise only a fraction of number (eg 1/10 in the first 4 months of 2023) to the tourists, but they account for more than half of tourism spending for the country. The growing tourism industry, notably the inbound tourism sector. greatly supports the food and beverage and the retail sectors.
- Social media impact
Given changing lifestyles and socio-cultural norms, the younger population is more inclined to eat out and share their stories and experiences on social media – as in the rest of the world.
In fact, there are 76.95 million social media users in Vietnam as of January 2022. According to a survey among internet users conducted in Vietnam in the first quarter of 2022, Facebook was the leading social media platform among all generations. Meanwhile, compared to Generation X and Y, Generation Z had higher usage of international platforms, such as Instagram, Tiktok, and Pinterest.
Photo communities like Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest would mean endless opportunities for F&B brands to increase their presence. The F&B industry can avail of such platforms to create promotional content, interact with the foodie community, and convert likes and shares into new customers.
We can also observe that urbanization trends and the increasing formalization of the country’s F&B industry are positively impacting the sector’s growth. It is predicted that 40 percent of Vietnamese people will live in urban areas (cities and towns) in 2025, double from 20 percent in 1990. Urbanites are more likely to eat out and are generally expected to earn more and therefore have a greater total spend on food and beverages
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