Retail in Asia

In Markets

South Korean duty free sales in September climb 16.7 percent

Duty free retail sales nationwide (excluding inflight retail) reached KRW1,327,368,990,544 (USD 984.8 million) in September, up 16.7 percent over August.

Customer numbers grew just 1.7 percent to 2,099,037, indicating a strong increase in sales per shopper.

SEE ALSO: Look: These are APAC’s busiest shopping days this holiday season

Sales to foreigners rose 20.2 percent over August to KRW1,080,495,067,938 (USD 801.7 million) on a 7.3 percent customer increase to 638,030. Sales to Koreans rose 3.9 percent to KRW 246,873,922,606 (USD 183.2 million) despite an 0.7 percent decrease in customer numbers to 1,459,007.

Korean travel retailers are striving to stimulate spending at Incheon International Airport though construction work for the new concessions is slowing progress. Pictured is a recently launched pop-up for The Balvenie at Incheon International Airport Terminal 2 in association with The Shilla Duty Free.

“Daigou sales are thought to be reviving slowly from the sustained heavy pressure from Korea Customs Service to prevent high commission wholesale activity,” said a senior source in the Korean travel retail sector.

“Due to the increase of Chinese visitors, the travel agency daigou sales are increasing. But because of widespread construction for new concessions at Incheon International Airport, sales there are not yet reaching the expected level.”

The total South Korean market by channel continued to be dominated by the downtown sector, which generated KRW1,114,339,623,823 (USD 826.8 million) in revenue, representing 84 percent of the market on just 32.5 percent of total customers.