According to data compiled by Interpark based on online sales and opinions from its merchandisers, fresh food deliveries have become common services for online shoppers in the past year, mainly due to quick delivery services.
Market Kurly, for instance, saw the rapid expansion of its business as one of Korea’s first grocery-delivery platforms. It delivers all items by 7 a.m. if the orders are placed before 11 p.m. the previous day.
Riding on the trend, Coupang is currently test-operating same-day deliveries in certain regions. Lotte Mart has also launched a delivery service that sends products from its stores within three hours after purchase.
As consumers continue to prefer shopping online due to convenience, competition has been heating up among retailers for faster deliveries of fresh produce, Interpark said.
Some retailers have even adopted delivery systems that directly send products from the produce area, without having to go through logistics centers, therefore saving cost.
Another major e-commerce trend this year was the increase in the number of shoppers in their 60s.
While millennials in their late 20s and early 30s have been key online purchasers, Interpark said consumers in their 50s and 60s are rising as a new major consumer group, as they have become more familiar with shopping online.
According to an industry survey conducted in July, consumers in their 50s and 60s recorded a 135 percent increase in their purchase amounts in the past five years. They made up 27 percent of all consumers ranging from teenagers to those in their 60s and above.
In particular, the total amount purchased by those in their 60s and above went up by 171 percent over the past five years, the survey showed.
By product category, elderly consumers mainly purchased travel tickets and luxury goods.
“The trend shows that a greater number of older consumers are shopping online with more ease, getting used to not having to travel to offline stores to buy products. The number will only increase with the development of mobile shopping apps,” said an industry insider.
E-mobility was another trend that led e-commerce here this year.
There has been a rise in the population using e-mobility, such as scooters, to commute. Together with recreational riders, e-mobility users are fueling the popularity of personal mobility devices, or PMDs, which refer to motorized, one-person vehicles powered by electricity.
According to the Korea Transport Institute, approximately 75,000 PMDs were sold here in 2017, up 20 percent from 60,000 units the previous year. By 2022, this number is expected to surpass 200,000 units, according to the institute.
“There are not many PMD dealers at offline stores. Many e-mobility users purchase such devices online, as they can complete the process of purchasing, apply for the government’s subsidy for eco-friendly transportation, and receive the device at one click,” said Kim Soo-kyung, an Interpark merchandizer in charge of electric scooters.
Interpark also picked November and overseas direct purchases, or “jikgu,” as two major e-commerce trends in 2018.
Online shopping malls held big sales in November -- a month that used to be a slow season but has turned out record sales due to discounts -- mimicking Black Friday in the US and Singles Day in China.
By Kim Da-sol (firstname.lastname@example.org)