Health supplement market surpasses W4.3tr on e-commerce boom

By Lim Jeong-yeo
  • Published : Jan 16, 2019 - 14:43
  • Updated : Jan 16, 2019 - 14:43

The health supplement market grew 20 percent over the past three years to reach 4.3 trillion won ($3.8 million) in 2018 as compared with 3.5 trillion won in 2016, the Korea Health Supplements Association said, crediting the growth spurt to e-commerce channels.

Tablets and pouch-type health drinks such as ginseng extract led the sales, according to a KHSA representative.

The rapid growth of the market for health supplements was largely the result of strong purchases through online shopping platforms.

A KHSA survey of 5,000 households nationwide for the past three years showed that 40 percent made direct purchases through online stores. Next most popular as sales channels for supplements were large retail stores with 15.5 percent, multilevel marketing with 12.5 percent and pharmacies with 11 percent.

Health supplements are on display at a retail shop in Seoul. (Lim Jeong-yeo / The Korea Herald)

In another survey by KHSA involving 1,200 people, almost two-thirds or 64.9 percent said they conducted internet research prior to making a purchase. Of those respondents 35.8 percent said they trusted data gathered online the most, as compared with 33.4 percent who relied on personal recommendations and 14.1 percent on advice from professionals.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (