Online credit card spending by South Korean consumers rose 44.5 percent in the fourth week of January, amid fears of the novel coronavirus outbreak, industry data showed Tuesday.
According to data compiled by eight credit card issuers -- Shinhan, Samsung, KB Kookmin, Hyundai, BC, Lotte, Woori and Hana -- the combined online spending reached some 2.5 trillion won ($2.1 billion) following the Lunar New Year holiday.
The total online spending in the same week last year amounted to 1.73 trillion won. The figure rose quickly right after the holiday week when fears of the deadly virus started to swamp the nation.
The online credit card use by consumers reflects a significant change in their spending behavior as many wish to minimize physical contact with others when buying goods and services, according to industry observers. Ranging from food delivery orders to eating out less, such a change in behavior is rising, along with public efforts to contain virus exposure, they said.
In the same period, the combined credit card spending -- online and offline -- came to nearly 9.53 trillion won, increasing 9.3 percent on-year from 8.28 trillion won.
On Tuesday, the government confirmed 28 positive cases of coronavirus virus infections.
By Choi Jae-hee (email@example.com