Jessica Goodfellow
Sep 28, 2020

Vinamilk, Vingroup dethrone Samsung in Vietnam's strongest local brands

ASIA's TOP 1000 BRANDS: Vietnam's number one dairy manufacturer and its largest conglomerate have dethroned electronics giant Samsung for the first time.

Vinamilk, Vingroup dethrone Samsung in Vietnam's strongest local brands

VIETNAM's STRONGEST LOCAL BRANDS

Patriotism and innovation are the two defining factors in this year's ranking of Vietnam's strongest local brands, as consumers opted to back companies that provided crucial relief during the throes of Covid-19 and continued to evolve and advertise in trying financial times.

It means for the first time, there are now more Vietnamese brands in the top 10 local brands ranking than international ones. And the coveted Samsung has been dethroned from the top spot by Vietnam's largest dairy company and national treasure Vinamilk, and a conglomerate that now owns the third-biggest smartphone brand in the country.

Besides the brand’s home country of South Korea, Vietnam is the only country which has continously selected Samsung as its top "local" brand — proving its strength in the market. The ranking asks respondents to select the top brand that originates from Vietnam, has the best reputation and resonates most strongly with those living in this market. But in almost every market covered by the Top 1000 Brands survey, MNCs feature heavily in the top 10 ranking.

International brands have for years been perceived as higher quality by Vietnamese consumers and have always dominated Vietnam's list. Last year, the split between international-local brands equalised. But in 2020, the balance has swung to locals as major global brands have fallen down the ranking.

It has been an especially poor year for international electronic brands. Samsung now sits at third place behind Vinamilk and Vietnam’s largest conglomerate, Vingroup, American smartphone manufacturer Apple slipped four slots to 7th place, while Chinese brand Oppo tumbled 16 places to fall out of the top 10 ranking altogether. Oppo only rose into the top 10 list for the first time last year. At the time, we wrote that Oppo was bucking an anti-made-in-China trend as several other Chinese electronic brands were among the biggest fallers in the ranking.

Chandler Nguyen, the vice president and global Google performance lead at Essence, said local smartphone competitors such as Vingroup's VSmart are beginning to gain traction among consumers. In just 17 months of operation VSmart is now the third biggest smartphone brand in the country, behind Samsung and Oppo, with a 16.7% market share. VinSmart, which owns 12 phone models, claims to have sold more than 1.2 million units since launch and is one of the fastes-growing companies in Vietnam.

"Local consumers traditionally associate foreign brands with higher quality for product categories such as electronics, but may rally around national pride and shop local once quality and value-for-money are ascertained," notes Nguyen.

Branding experts in Vietnam suggest Covid-19 is a defining factor in informing the shifts in Vietnam's strongest local brands. The survey was conducted between February 21 and March 19, 2020—during which time Vietnam had recorded its first few infections and put one district into lockdown. While major local brands increased awareness as they shifted to relief efforts, MNC brands paused advertising investment in most markets during the first quarter of 2020.

"Samsung’s slight drop in the 2020 top local brands ranking could perhaps be due to the reduced level of visibility and brand activities amidst the pandemic," notes Nguyen. More on this in our analysis of the impact of the pandemic on Vietnam's national brands

The other international brand to slip out of the ranking was Japan Airlines, falling from 7th to 11th place, replaced in the top 10 by homegrown carrier Vietnam Airlines, which jumped from 23rd place in 2019.

Trung Nguyen Coffee rose one slot respectively, while local brand Kinh Do, a snacks business owned by Mondolez, joined the list for the first time.

Vietnam's top 10 local brands: We asked: "What do you think is the strongest local brand in Vietnam? By ‘strongest local brand’ we mean a brand that originates from Vietnam, has the best reputation and resonates most strongly with those living in this market".

2019

2020

Samsung

Vinamilk

Vinamilk

Vingroup

Apple

Samsung

Vingroup

Honda

Viettel

Trung Nguyen Coffee

Trung Nguyen Coffee

Viettel

Japan Airlines

Apple

Oppo

Coca Cola

Hanoi Beer

Kinh Do

DMart

Vietnam Airlines

Vietnam is not the only market that has grown more parochial in 2020 as a result of Covid-19. In Australia’s ranking for example, the only non-Australian brands to make the top local brands list last year—Apple and Samsung—were pushed out and replaced with a supermarket brand and a heritage car manufacturer which is no longer in operation.

Bucking this trend is Hanoi Beer, which fell out of the ranking from 9th to 26th place. Vietnam's beer industry was hit hard by a combination of Covid-19 and stringent new drunk driving laws in the first quarter, pushing sales to the lowest in several years. Hanoi Beer's brewer Habeco reported a loss of US$4.1 million in the first quarter as revenues fell 50%, while its competitor Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corporation (Sabeco) saw first quarter profits fall to a seven-year low of $31 million.

Two international brands to join the top 10 ranking in 2020 are Honda and Coca Cola, up from 20th and 13th place respectively. Honda has been one of the strongest brands in Vietnam for decades, according to Tai Le, the director of operations and ecommerce at independent shop Red2Digital. The Japanese car and motorcycle manufacturer has three factories in Vietnam and currently holds a huge 70% share of Vietnam's motorcycle market.

Indian hypermarket chain DMart, which was the 10th most popular local brand in 2019, fell out of the local ranking altogether in 2020.

Related Articles

Just Published

1 hour ago

Inside the sweet, successful launch of Del Monte's ...

The communications strategy and challenges of a world-first unique new fruit.

1 hour ago

How to make your digital design portfolio stand ...

I reviewed hundreds of portfolios in one week. Nine things stood out.

2 hours ago

Anyone's a budding moviemaker in new Apple iPhone ...

Apple's in-house team celebrates the filmmaker in everyone and the lengths they go to, with some dramatic help from Danny Elfman.

2 hours ago

Instead of blaming young people for Covid, engage ...

'If you want to know how to change the behaviour of a group of people, co-create it with that group.'