South Korea’s monthly online shopping transactions hit an all-time high in May, mainly driven by surging demand for delivery food via mobile apps and brisk sales of air-cooling electronics ahead of likely hot summer, data showed Wednesday.
According to data released by Statistics Korea, the value of online shopping transactions stood at 11.26 trillion won ($9.6 billion) in May, up 19.8 percent from the same period a year ago. It is the highest monthly transactions since the agency began compiling related data in January, 2001.
Korea’s monthly online shopping transactions exceeded 11 trillion won for the first time in March before retreating to the 10 trillion won range in the following month.
Statistics Korea attributed the all-time high figure to growing orders of delivery food in line with the country’s rising number of single-member households, as well as a jump in online sales of home appliances, especially air conditioners, fans, and circulators, that can keep them cool from the summer heat.
By product category, online sales of food delivery services jumped 90.7 percent in May against a year ago and groceries 29 percent thanks to changing consumption trend preferring simple home-meal kits and diversified services.
Online sales of home appliances, electronics, and communication devices also increased 29.2 percent during the same period as consumers had rushed to buy air conditioners and other air-cooling electronics before hot summer begins. Online sales of cosmetics also jumped 20.5 percent in May from a year ago as a growing number of foreign tourists purchased duty-free goods online.
Data also showed that online shopping transactions of products, excluding services, accounted for 21 percent of total retail sales in May, a similar level with the first four months of this year. The figure shows that 210,000 won, for example, was consumed online of every 1 million won spent monthly on products.
The value of mobile shopping transactions also surpassed 7 trillion won in May, an all-time high after reaching 7.06 trillion won in March. The total amount surged 25.9 percent to 7.1 trillion won during the cited period, data showed.
Of online shopping transactions, mobile shopping accounted for a dominantly high share in food services (93.6 percent), e-coupon services (88.5 percent), and sales of bags (75.9 percent).
By Kim Tae-joon and Lee Eun-joo
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