Foreigners’ credit card spending in S. Korea up 12.6% on yr in 2018

2019.04.08 15:38:13

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Credit card spending by foreigners in South Korea rose 12.6 percent last year from a year ago in line with increased tourists and spending on expensive beauty or medical care, data showed Monday.

According to data released by Korea Culture & Tourism Institute and Shinhan Card Co. on Monday, foreigners’ credit card spending jumped 12.6 percent last year to 9.4 trillion won ($8.2 billion). The on-year rise is mainly due to high base effect as overall spending dropped significantly in 2017 as Chinese stopped coming to Korea amid diplomatic row over Seoul’s deployment of U.S. anti-missile system. In 2016, foreigners’ credit card spending reached 12 trillion won.

By country, credit card spending by Chinese nationals accounted for 36 percent of the total in 2018. Although overall amount increased, their share fell from 55 percent in 2016 as spending by foreigners from other countries rose sharply. Total spending by the British, for example, rose 52 percent in 2018 from a year ago.

Credit card spending last year was also on a more variety of low-priced items whereas in the previous year was focused on luxury products and services.

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By sector, foreigners’ credit card spending in the tourism category such as spending on cosmetics at department stores and travel packages at retail stores as well as on budget accommodations such as condominiums and motels rose significantly last year. Credit card spending on medical sector jumped 38.2 percent last year from a year earlier with spending at private medical facilities jumping 67.6 percent.

By region, 85 percent of foreigners’ credit card spending was made in Seoul and satellite regions of Incheon, and Gyeonggi Province, followed by Busan (5.5 percent), and Jeju Island (4.8 percent). Data showed that credit card use at resortfacilities offering outdoor golf courses in Jeju rose 42 percent over the cited period.

Shinhan Card, meanwhile, said that it will provide a more sophisticated big data analysis of diverse private sectors in a move to continue to actively support the country’s overall policy making in the tourism and domestic leisure sectors such as those involving sports, regional festivals. The analysis would be used to provide spending trends, analyze data of major commercial areas, and search for prospective card payers.

By Kim Gang-rae and Lee Eun-joo

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