Social distancing and lockdown as a result of Covid-19 have brought remarkable changes in consumption trend in South Korea, with items enriching stay-at-home life gaining popularity while products related to outdoor activities saw a plunge in sales.
Maeil Business Newspaper analyzed household consumptions over the past 50 years and found that consumer spending on household items including furniture, electronics and internet-related gadgets surged to a record-high level last year, while consumption associated with social activities such as fashion items and sports activities plummeted by a double-digit rate.
For the first nine months of last year, spending on groceries, telecommunication related items, electronic devices, furniture, liquor and cigarettes reached the highest level on record dating to 1970. Food and beverage products showed the fastest on-year growth in consumption by 9.3 percent, followed by furniture and home appliances by 7.4 percent, IT devices 4.4 percent, liquor and tobacco 2.7 percent.
On the other hand, consumer spending related to socializing or outdoor activities plunged. Consumption for leisure and sport activities declined 20 percent, clothing and shoes 17.7 percent, education service 15.7 percent, restaurant and hospitality service 9.8 percent.
Total household spending from January to September in 2020 dropped 3.7 percent to 644.98 trillion won ($589.3 billion), but the proportion of spending for essential products and services, including food, rent, home management, appliances and medical cost, soared to a 21-year-high of 40.3 percent.
By Kim Jung-hwan and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]