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Businesses enjoy maiden Vietnamese Black Friday as sales surge

Not all customers were satisfied with the inaugural online shopping day expected to become the Vietnamese equivalent of Black Friday in the U.S., but businesses taking part in the biggest promotional event of the year reported healthy sales.

Not all customers were satisfied with the inaugural online shopping day expected to become the Vietnamese equivalent of Black Friday in the U.S., but businesses taking part in the biggest promotional event of the year reported healthy sales.
Not all customers were satisfied with the inaugural online shopping day expected to become the Vietnamese equivalent of Black Friday in the U.S., but businesses taking part in the biggest promotional event of the year reported healthy sales.

Friday marked the first-ever edition of  Online Friday, to be held annually on the first Friday of December, in Vietnam, when more than 900 businesses participated to offer myriad discounts and promotions for their products and services.

The program, hosted by the Vietnam E-Commerce and Information Technology Agency (VEITA) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, ran online at onlinefriday.vn and ngaymuasamtructuyen.vn.

The websites received 550,000 visitors and generated 3.5 million views of product pages, VEITA said in a preliminary report released at 11:00 am.

Le Pham Anh Thy, director of marketing with Nguyen Kim, a popular electronics chain, said the company had received around 3,600 orders worth an average of VND4.5-5 million (US$220-230) each as of 4:00 pm, which is fourfold the daily sales via online channels.

Thy expected to receive 5,400 orders during Online Friday and generate VND20 billion ($941,354) in revenue, he said.

Nguyen Phuong Anh, management director of Zalora Vietnam, an online fashion retailing site, said the company had smashed the record for the largest number of orders in one day as of 2:00 pm on ‘Vietnamese Black Friday.’

Zalora Vietnam expected sales from Online Friday to increase 400 percent from the normal figure, Anh said.

Tran Nhat Linh, director of online sales with The Gioi Di Dong, one of the leading mobile phone store chains, reported 3,000 orders as of 4:00 pm, fourfold the normal number.

Still, some shoppers were unsatisfied with the program, pointing to the low discount rates, small number of discounted products and unreliable product quality.

Giang Anh Vu, of the southern coastal city of Vung Tau, said he visited the Online Friday website well past midnight while hunting for a smartphone.

Vu was excited to learn that more than 2,000 handsets were available at discounted prices, but was disappointed to see the smartphone he wanted to buy, a Blackberry Z3, was sold with only a five percent discount by Viettel.

“The discounts for other products were also less than 10 percent,” he said.

Do Le Hung, a white-collar worker based in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, had expected to be able to buy an LCD TV at a reasonable price during the shopping day.

“I went to the website of an electronics store, and what a huge disappointment, their discount rates were the same as normal days,” Hung said.

A reader named Vo Hai Vuong commented on newswire VnExpress Online that most of the discounted goods in the program were from unpopular brands.

“And you will see the discounted prices were still high if you check carefully with other sources,” he said.