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Korean department store sales lift on strong e-commerce

Korean department store sales lift on strong e-commerce

South Korea department store retail sales recorded an increase in September 2017 on the back of strong online sales, a government report showed.

The Asian nation’s major retailers registered an increase of 8.4 percent in September from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

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The figure was based on a revenue survey taken across 13 physical and 13 online retailers.

Online sales surged 22.8 percent, the biggest gainer by retail category, while offline sales rose 2.6 percent last month, in comparison.

Direct sales by online retailers skyrocketed 46.2 percent, with sales by online brokers lifting 14.7 percent, said the report.

In the physical retail environment, sales by department stores increased 4.9 percent, with those by convenient stores gaining 12.1 percent. The latter saw double-digit expansion on strong demand for food and beverage items, including imported beer and convenience food. Meanwhile, the number of convenient stores jumped 14.7 percent in South Korea last month.

The only negative segment was in sales recorded at major discount outlets, which dropped 4.9 percent in September, said the ministry.

Convenient store sales saw discount outlet sales retreated on weak demand for miscellaneous items and housewares.

Online continues to dominant in Korea. According to a recent Ipsos survey of 18,180 consumers in 23 countries, South Korea is a leading market for mobile payment services, as many of the nation’s tech-savvy consumers are turning to their smartphones to make purchases.

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According to a tally by the Bank of Korea, the daily average of mobile payments came to 1.26 million cases in the fourth quarter of 2016, nearly three times the 440,000 settlements posted three quarters earlier.

The number of mobile payment service users in South Korea was estimated to have exceeded 32 million as of the end of last year.

Approximately 7 in 10 South Koreans are known to own a smartphone, the fourth-highest smartphone penetration rate in the world.