Vietnam has one of the highest internet penetration rates globally, making the Vietnamese people among the most connected population in the world. Along with its high number of smartphone users, the country has seen rapid growth in mobile app usage in the past decade. These applications have turned smartphones into multifunctional devices, which have become an essential part of daily life for many people. With a smartphone, one can perform numerous tasks, including connecting with family and friends, paying bills, shopping, and more.
Mobile app usage and landscape in Vietnam
On average, a Vietnamese person spent approximately 6.5 hours using the internet per day in 2021. Out of these, at least three hours of daily internet usage were spent on mobile apps, according to over 70 percent of iOS device owners. The duration of using mobile apps has been increasing fast in recent years; so too has the number of apps used in a week among Vietnamese users. This number was around 17 apps per iOS user per week in 2019; it reached 22 apps in 2020. In 2022, the total consumer spending on mobile apps amounted to 506 million U.S. dollars in Vietnam, more than three times the amount recorded in 2018.
In 2022, Android was the leading mobile operating system in Vietnam, with 70 percent of the market share, followed by iOS with 29 percent of the mobile devices market. Regardless of the operating systems, gaming apps accounted for the most downloads among all app categories, although the share of downloads of these apps was slightly higher among Android users than iOS users. On the other hand, social media and messaging apps had the highest usage rate among all mobile application categories despite having a lower download rate.
Leading social apps in Vietnam
Facebook has consistently been the most used active social media app among Vietnamese internet users. Other leading social networks include apps from the Facebook Inc. family, such as YouTube and Instagram, and the social messaging app Zalo. This homegrown app had over 70 million users in 2022 and ranked only behind Facebook in terms of usage in the country. Additionally, Zalo Group, the publisher of this app, recorded the highest number of downloads among all Vietnamese Android publishers as of January 2023. For the youngest group of internet users, Generation Z, the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok has gained a strong foothold in the Vietnamese market only after a few years of being released in the country. In 2022, over 70 percent of Gen Z internet users in Vietnam reported using this app, and the usage rate has been increasing steadily. As a result, TikTok will likely continue to be a relevant player in the social media landscape in Vietnam.
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