The culture of "Jikgoo," direct buying in the Korean language, became popular among smart consumers about a decade ago. Some South Korean shoppers mainly used online shopping platforms such as Amazon and eBay to gain access to high-quality and affordable products that are not easily available at home.
Nowadays, more consumers have adopted the Jikgoo culture thanks to the distribution of smartphones. According to the state statistical information service, the amount of Jikgoo imports by individual consumers increased explosively in the third quarter of 2023 to reach 1.6 trillion won ($1.2 billion), up 24.8 percent compared to the same period in 2022.
Chinese ecommerce services were the most used. Total Jikgoo imports from China in 3Q 2023 stood at 819.3 billion won, up 106.4 percent. Meanwhile, the total Jikgoo amount from United States ecommerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay stood at 453.2 billion won, down 4.6 percent.
According to data released by Wiseapp, a smartphone app market research firm, Aliexpress garnered an average of about 3.71 million new users every month with more than seven million monthly active users (MAUs) in South Korea as of 3Q 2023. Temu, which is also a Chinese ecommerce platform, attracted a monthly average of 3.54 million users. MAU refers to users who actually access a particular service at least once a month.
The app market research company analyzed that the Chinese ecommerce services attracted South Korean consumers with super-low priced products and free delivery fees while expressing worries over domestic business operators who sell similar products through South Korean ecommerce platforms.
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