More Koreans choose convenience food, overseas travel for Chuseok holiday

2023.09.19 14:40:02 | 2023.09.19 15:30:54

PEACOCK Tteokgabi. [Courtesy of Emart]이미지 확대

PEACOCK Tteokgabi. [Courtesy of Emart]



Ahead of the longest Chuseok, or harvest holiday, in South Korea’s history, there are noticeable changes in consumer behavior compared to previous years. Many people are opting for convenience food instead of traditional Chuseok dishes, and the demand for overseas travel and related consumption is at peak summer season levels. As more people are unable to visit their parents due to various reasons, spending on expensive gifts for them, such as hanwoo, or Korean beef, has increased, leading to a growth in related sales.

According to a recent analysis by e-commerce platform Gmarket Inc. of sales trends from September 4 to 13, compared to the Chuseok promotion period from August 15 to 24, 2022, sales of processed livestock products rose by 30 percent, convenience foods by 15 percent, and instant rice and cup rice products by a whopping 46 percent. Some of the most popular products included PEACOCK Tteokgabi (grilled short rib patties), dakgalbi (stir fried spicy chicken), and Fresheasy LA galbi (barbecued beef short ribs).

Gmarket also reported a sharp increase in demand for travel products, with the overall transaction volume for travel products increasing by 128 percent compared to 2022. Demand for overseas travel surged as the Covid-19 pandemic became endemic this year, with the transaction volume for overseas travel products skyrocketing by 348 percent. “Consumers who experienced contactless holidays during the pandemic seem to prefer sending Chuseok gifts online and enjoying trips to spend more time with their own families,” a Gmarket official said.

Convenience store companies, meanwhile, are releasing special holiday lunchbox menus for people planning to spend the holiday alone. Corner store chain GS25, run by GS Retail Co., said on Monday that it introduced a lunchbox consisting of steamed chicken, assorted jeon (Korean pancakes), seasoned radish salad, seasoned spinach side dish, white rice, and fried egg.

GS25 also said that, based on its analysis of data from last year’s Chuseok holiday period, it has secured a supply of over the counter (OTC) medicines in anticipation of increased demand during this year’s holiday period.

By Kim Gyu-sik and Yoon Yeon-hae

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