Despite economic slowdown and rising unsold inventories of locally-made goods, many foreign firms still consider the Southeast Asian country a land of promise for their luxury products.
More and more luxury brands
Since first opened in Hà Nội in 2008, the Hermes shop has regularly seen profits increase gradually by 20 to 30 percent every year.
It sells various luxury products costing from US$ 10,000 to $150,000 each.
It must be noted that Việt Nam is a developing country whose per capita income in 2012 is only US$ 1,400 per year.
For that smooth growth, Hermes has broadened its chain by opening a second shop in the country at the beginning of this year in order to sell luxury handbags.
It sent a message that every Vietnamese craves for:
“I am rich and powerful”.
In the case of automobile market, luxury brands, such as BMW, Mercedes and Audi, have never lost its turnover and even achieved high growth in Việt Nam although the car market on the whole is freezing.
At the end of June, Rolls-Royce, the preferred brand for royals and billionaires, officially opened its authorized agency in Hà Nội, the 22nd city in the Southeast Asia that the company has marked its presence – to sell cars each costing a staggering US$1.2 to 1.7 million.
By choosing the capital Hà Nội to build its Vietnamese headquarters, the company is clearly focusing on the northern market in its first stage.
According to Đoàn Hiếu Minh, chairman of the board of Regal Motor Cars which is Rolls-Royce’s distributor in Việt Nam, the luxury car manufacturer has chosen a very narrow customer segment, including only successful and well-known people who would like to reassert their social status.
Being optimistic about the future, Minh believes that sales volume of the company in Việt Nam will rise to double-digit during the next three years.
Moreover, luxury consumers not only buy products inside the country but also go abroad to shop.
Besides showbiz stars, who always show off their shopping trips to other countries, the rich in Việt Nam also fly regularly to shopping paradises such as Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, to look for their favorite items.
According to a government news report, a certain businessman called QC arrived in Singapore at 1:30 pm to start his one – and – a – half – hour shopping on the luxury Orchard Road before coming back Hà Nội at 3:00 pm with many expensive products, some of which are a diamond Rolex watch, summer Louis Vuitton shoes and a Gucci belt.
Luxury products for rent
If people are not rich, they can rent them.
To rent an item bearing brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Dior or Chanel, the customer has to leave a deposit, identity card and pay the daily rental cost which is three percent of the product’s retail price.
In Hà Nội, such services abound and are mainly located in tight alleys around Bộc Pagoda and Nghĩa Tân Pagoda.
The demand for this service has become very high among youths.
People rent clothes, dresses, watches, shoes and handbags of famous brands.
Phuong Nga, a regular customer, said that spending VND 200,000- VND400,000 every day to be more beautiful is an acceptable price.
Moreover, many mobile phone shops in Cầu Giấy area in Hà Nội are leasing iPhone 5, which costs VND 600,000 to 800,000 per day.
Huy Khoa, a student in Hà Nội, said:
“Luxury items express your level and make others respect you.
Therefore, paying a million Vietnamese dong to have an iPhone 5 in some special cases is suitable.”
It is cheaper to rent other mobile phones like Nokia and SamSung, which cost only about VND100,000- 300,000 each per day.
The same applies to luxury motorcycles and cars: motorcycles like SH and LX can cost up to VND500,000 per day.
Common cars like Morning, Vios and Innova cost VND500,000 to one million per session while more luxurious ones like Altis and Camry cost at least VND2 million.