Korea’s online shopping industry is expected to be worth more than 65 trillion won ($61.7 billion) this year, up 18 percent from last year’s 55 trillion won, as more consumers turn to the Internet for convenient shopping and competitive prices, according to the Korean Online Shopping Association.
KOLSA said the remarkable expansion of online commerce largely owes to the rapid growth of mobile commerce, done mainly through smartphones. This year, mobile commerce alone is expected to grow to 10 trillion, up from 600 billion won in 2011.
In contrast, the size of the domestic offline shopping market is expected to grow just 3 percent on-year to around 276 trillion won, according to the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Shinsegae Future Policy Research Institute projected online shopping sales to reach 42.8 trillion won, which is close to the sales forecasts for large offline retailers estimated at 46.6 trillion won.
Retailers and online shopping malls such as Lotte, 11 Street and Shinsegae Future Policy Research Institute point out keywords for this year’s burgeoning industry such as “UNICORN” ― an acronym for “unique,” “net-shop,” “intelligent consumers,” “convenience,” “relaxation” and “new generation” ― along with “break,” referring to the mindset of consumers who shop to let off steam.
Meanwhile, the improvement in online services offered by the nation’s major chain stores was also seen as a factor contributing to the rapidly changing shopping styles.
E-Mart, the country’s largest supermarket chain, said more people are grocery shopping through their mobile apps, which was not common in the past. Retail stores are increasingly gaining credibility in online shopping by streamlining their storage and delivery systems, E-Mart officials said.
The industry has been working on countermeasures against the shopping pattern shift. Shinsegae’s research institute selected “beyond” as the keyword for this year’s retail market. “More people will be shopping without boundaries ― countries and platform of purchase will be irrelevant,” it stated.
By Bae Ji-sook (email@example.com)