S. Korea's online shopping boosted by prolonged rainy season and COVID-19

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : September 29, 2020, 15:41 | Updated : September 29, 2020, 15:41

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SEOUL -- South Korean consumers chose to stay at home and shop online to avoid getting wet and being infected with COVID-19 during this year's prolonged rainy season that lasted 54 days, official data showed.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy's data released on September 29, sales of online retailers including major online shopping malls such as Gmarket, Coupang and Interpark in August rose 20.1 percent from a year earlier as consumers used online shopping services to avoid COVID-19 infection. Sales of home appliances and cultural products were up 17.1 percent and sales of home living products including furniture up 8.3 percent. Sales of fashion products fell 20.2 percent.

In August, sales of offline retailers including megastores and department stores fell 2.4 percent from a year ago, while sales of convenience stores increased 2.3 percent. Non-contact services have garnered popularity in South Korea. While using online shopping malls to buy home appliances and other necessities, consumers chose to conveniently eat delivered food at home instead of dining out.

According to Wiseapp, a mobile commerce market research firm, about one trillion won ($855 million) worth of transactions were made every month using mobile food delivery services including Baedal Minjok and Yogiyo in the first seven months of 2020. Food delivery service operators targeted the niche market for quick grocery delivery services. Because it takes at least one or two days to receive products that were ordered through online shopping malls, the demand for quick delivery services for groceries including food ingredients and ready-to-eat meal kits was high.

Currently, Baedal Minjok, the largest food delivery service operator, and Yogiyo, the second-largest food delivery service, small-sized logistics centers to offer grocery deliveries that take about 30 minutes per run. The service is favored by young working-class consumers as well as parents with children.

 
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