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E-commerce market beats offline retailers in 2014: data

South Korea's online commercial transactions outpaced those of other retailers for the first time in 2014 as online shopping malls and social commerce operators continued to grow rapidly, data showed Sunday. 

The total amount of online and mobile transactions in the country, including purchases made directly through overseas online shopping malls, came to 46.9 trillion won ($42.92 billion) last year, exceeding the 46.64 trillion won tallied for offline retail services, according to the data from Statistics Korea and Korea Customs Service.

The latest data marks the first time for online retailers to overtake offline competitors, but industry watchers say the results are not very surprising, as the country's online shopping population has been increasing sharply over the years.

In terms of sales growth, local online shopping malls expanded 17.5 percent on-year in 2014, whereas major supermarket chains only grew 3.4 percent.

Department stores, on the other hand, saw their sales shrink 1.9 percent over the cited period.

Within the e-commerce sector, mobile shopping saw the biggest leap upward as the value of transactions via mobile devices jumped 125.8 percent to 14.89 trillion won last year from the 6.56 trillion won tallied in 2013. (Yonhap)
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