Retail sales edged up 3.7 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year, with the growth towed by e-commerce companies, government data revealed Thursday.
According to the Ministry of Trade Industry and Energy, total sales in the retail industry recorded 66.79 trillion won ($55.9 billion) on-year, up 3.7 percent. The growth rate appears to have slowed compared to previous years, as sales increased by 7.5 percent in 2018 and 5.6 percent in 2019.
For the report, the ministry surveyed 13 offline retailers, including major department stores, large supermarkets and convenience stores, as well as 13 e-commerce platform operators such as eBay and Coupang.
The COVID-19 outbreak has dealt a blow to retailers in physical stores, the ministry explained, with their combined sales plunging 6 percent compared to the same time last year.
Among brick-and-mortar retailers, only convenience store operators saw sales increase, by 1.9 percent.
On the other hand, sales for e-commerce platform operators jumped 17.5 percent, thanks to social distancing and the rising preference for contactless shopping.
Of the total sales in the retail industry, online retailers increased their portion from 40.9 percent in the first half of 2019 to 46.4 percent for the same period this year, the ministry data showed.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org