South Korea’s online shopping transactions reached an all-time high in July as consumers’ reliance on non-face-to-face and delivery services grew significantly in the face of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and monsoon season, data showed Thursday.
According to data released by Statistics Korea, the total value of online shopping transactions stood at 12.9 trillion won ($10.9 billion) in July, up 15.8 percent from a year ago. It is the highest volume since the agency began compiling related data in 2001. Korea’s online shopping transactions are expected to surge even more in August when more people stayed home to abide by the stricter social-distancing rules introduced by the government amid resurgence of coronavirus in the country.
Online shopping transactions accounted for 26.6 percent of total retail sales in July, up 5.2 percentage points from a year ago. The share has remained above 25 percent since the COVID-19 outbreak.
By product category, online sales of food and lifestyle related services surged in July. Online sales of food jumped 51.8 percent on year to 2.06 trillion won in July, food and beverage products 46.7 percent to 1.5 trillion won, and agriculture and fisheries products 72.8 percent to 462.1 billion won. Sales of life-style related items also jumped 47.7 percent to 1.8 trillion won.
Sales of daily necessities increased 48 percent to 1.2 trillion won, automobiles and automobile components 63.4 percent to 157 billion won, furniture 47.4 percent to 385.6 billion won, pet-related items 25.5 percent to 96.1 billion won
Online sales in the overall service sector fell 11.4 percent to 2.6 trillion won in July against a year-ago period, but sales of food services only surged 66.3 percent to 1.3 trillion won during the cited period on growing demand for fresh food such as rice and fruits, health supplements, ready-made meals, and food deliveries. Sales of e-coupon service also increased 19.3 percent to 332.1 billion won.
Online sales of travel and transportation services plummeted 51.6 percent to 777.9 billion won over the same period, and those of culture and leisure service 67.8 percent to 63 billion won as Koreans stayed home amid the government’s social distancing measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Yang Dong-hee, director of service industry trend at Statistics Korea, said the country’s online sales of indoor-related items, food and groceries, and food services surged in July because people were forced to stay home to avoid rain in the monsoon season and virus infections.
The value of transactions via mobile device reached an all-time high of 8.7 trillion won in July, up 21.2 percent from a year ago. Mobile shopping accounted for 67.8 percent of total online shopping transactions in July, up 3.1 percentage points from last year. Data showed that 95 percent of food service transactions were carried out via mobile devices and 82.1 percent of e-coupon service.
By Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]