Marketing trends in the U.S. and Vietnam

Due to differences in geographic location and culture, the marketing trends of the U.S. and Vietnam have many distinctions and how brands in these two countries approach their target audiences is not the same. Here are some typical trends:

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising in the U.S. has never been outdated

Thanks to the development of the transportation network and infrastructure in the U.S., the giant billboards along the roads are fully utilized. The country has been actively expanding urban and suburban residential areas in major cities to disperse population densities in the centre. As a result, the time Americans spend traveling on transportation is increasing, enabling OOH advertising to grow.

As traditional advertising channels in the U.S. such as TV, print newspaper, magazines … are increasingly weakened, OOH advertising has grown steadily over the years. According to many surveys, the U.S. is the largest OOH advertising market in the world. The American Out-of-home Advertising Association also pointed out that revenue from OOH advertising grew 4.5% in 2018, reaching the $8 billion mark. Of which, digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising accounted for 29% of revenue.

Podcast advertising in the U.S. continues to grow

Besides OOH advertising, advertising through podcasts is also one of the potential forms of marketing in the U.S. With high mobility, Americans listen to podcasts to take advantage of the time sitting in cars. Podcasts are highly flexible, they can be played directly on phones so people can listen to it anytime and anywhere.

According to a report by market research company Edison and digital audio technology company Triton, nearly a quarter of Americans (22%), or 26 million, listen to podcasts weekly in 2019, far beyond the 17% of 2018.

Podcasts are becoming more and more popular with extremely diverse contents. Thus, marketers can easily segment customer groups and sketch proper plans to reach their target audience. Spending on podcast ads has also increased sharply in recent years, and media strategy company Magna predicts that the figure will reach $1 billion in 2022.

Traditional TV commercials are no longer as attractive as they used to be

While television advertising in Vietnam still dominates the marketing industry, the percentage of traditional TV viewers in the U.S. is declining. The culture of watching TV in the United States is no longer as popular as it was due to the heavy influence of digital platforms. The explosion of movie and entertainment services like Netflix has overwhelmed the traditional channel which once dominated the advertising industry. Time spent watching traditional TV of generations also decreased significantly, especially between the ages of 18-34 years old.

According to the estimation by the business data platform Statista, in 2019, the average time Americans (over 18 years old) spend watching TV every day is 3 hours 35 minutes. This number has been steadily decreasing since 2014 and the declining trend is expected to continue in the coming years, with the daily average dropping from about 4 hours 20 minutes in 2014 to 3 hours 20 minutes in 2021.

TV ad revenue will tend to decrease slightly from US $71 billion in 2018 to US $70.6 billion in 2019. TV commercials only get more attention during major annual event seasons such as Superbowl, Oscar, and Grammy.

Radio and television commercials in Vietnam still survive and rise

Back to the Vietnamese market. Advertisers and marketers can utilize and promote more rational out-of-home advertising models as these ads are 100% reachable and unskippable. In addition, the habit of listening to radio in Vietnam is also a money-making advertising channel, making it worth for advertisers paying attention to, especially as the income of the Vietnamese gradually improves and the number of personal cars is increasing.

Meanwhile, TV commercials are always in full flourish because the culture of watching television remains strongly connected with many Vietnamese families. In fact, no other channel has achieved the level of communication as fast, efficient and large as television. There was a time in the past when businesses achieved 90% or even 95% of their target market through television advertising. According to the Vietnam Advertising Association, in the early years of the 21st century, the growth rate of television advertising in Vietnam reached an average of 25% per year. According to a report on Vietnam’s TV market by Dataxis at the Financial Magazine website by the end of 2018, Vietnam has more than 90 million people with 35.2 million households owning a TV. This data represents a huge potential for television advertising.

Online advertising leads the Vietnamese market

Social networking sites like Facebook, Zalo, Google, YouTube … are always the top choices for every brand. The fact that beauty salons, dentists, food stores … spend 25-30% of sales, or clothing, footwear stores … spend up to 100% of profits on Facebook to receive orders, which means online advertising is the biggest “money-burning” channel of businesses.

According to the data from ANTS Online Advertising Solution Joint Stock Company, in 2018, spending on online advertising in Vietnam was estimated at US $550 million. In particular, the two giant technology companies Google and Facebook have accounted for nearly 70% market share. Specifically, advertising on Facebook accounted for $235 million, and Google accounted for $152.1 million. Domestic businesses/online advertising networks such as VCCorp/Admicro, VnExpress/Eclick, Zing/Adtima … only account for about 150 million USD.

Advertising budgets in recent years have seen a sharp shift from traditional means to online. In addition to businesses, individuals and online businesses also contributed significantly to this growth. According to Facebook’s report in Asia Pacific, 74% of small businesses said that using Facebook helps them increase sales and nearly 70% of small businesses use Facebook to find new employees.

Facebook and Google are leading the market share and online advertising sales. This trend is expected to continue, as Vietnam is ranked 7th in the world in terms of user access to Facebook advertising with 59 million users, according to the Appota report.

The Vietnam E-Commerce Association also said that the two most popular advertising businesses are social media and search engines. Specifically, 64% of respondents said that advertising on social media was the most effective, while 39% selected search engines.

The advertising and marketing game in Vietnam are getting very exciting due to the introduction of many new multinational brands as well as the rise of old brands to maintain market share. Understanding the differences in marketing trends of the world’s most developed countries like the U.S. is also an opportunity for Vietnamese marketers to learn and reshape their marketing plans.


Author Trinh Nguyen is a PR- Communications Intern at EloQ Communications. Trinh is studying at California State University, Fullerton in California (USA), majoring in Public Relations.

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