Online shopping in South Korea hits record high in 2023

South Korea
Photo credit: Yonhap

Online shopping sales in South Korea reached an all-time high in 2023 on surging demand for travel and other services after the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed Thursday, Yonhap reports.

The value of online shopping transactions amounted to 227.35 trillion won (US$170.8 billion) last year, up 8.3 percent from the previous year, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

It is the highest level since 2001, when the agency began compiling relevant data.

But the growth has slowed down from 20.2 percent in 2021 and a 10.3 percent increase in 2022, the data showed.

The increase came as demand for various services went up 18.5 percent on-year to 55.27 trillion won last year following the pandemic.

In detail, travel and transportation services saw a 44 percent jump in sales on-year to 24.09 trillion won, and demand for e-coupon services soared 34.9 percent to 9.88 trillion won.

Sales of food, beverages and farm products also advanced 12.7 percent on-year to 36.11 trillion won last year. The value of online shopping for fashion items also added 3.5 percent to 52.07 trillion won.

But sales of electronics shed 0.8 percent to 29.96 trillion won, the data showed.

Purchases made through smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices rose 7 percent on-year to 167.83 trillion won. They accounted for 73.82 percent of total online shopping, down 0.93 percentage point on-year.

In December alone, the value of online shopping transactions advanced 7.7 percent on-year to 20.36 trillion won, driven by rising demand for travel and transportation services, e-coupons and food items, according to the data.

Meanwhile, South Koreans' direct purchases of foreign goods also hit a fresh record high last year.

The value of foreign goods that South Korean shoppers bought directly from overseas came to 6.76 trillion won by rising 26.9 percent.

Of the total, purchases from China spiked 121.2 percent on-year to 3.28 trillion won, followed by the United States with 1.86 trillion won.

It was the first time that the value from China surpassed that from the U.S., the agency said.

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