Shoppers look at clothes at a department store in Seoul on Sunday, the first day of South Korea’s two-week shopping event Korea Sale FESTA. (Yonhap)
South Korea’s annual nationwide shopping festival Korea Sale FESTA kicked off Sunday with over 1,600 companies, the largest scale to date.
The two-week festival takes place until Nov. 15 this year with the support of the central governments and the 17 metropolitan and provincial authorities, though many parts of the event will go online.
During an online opening ceremony on Saturday, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said this year’s event would “contribute greatly to the recovery of the local economy.”
Earlier this month, Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo said revitalizing the domestic market will be key to the country’s economic recovery during the fourth quarter. He added that thorough measures against COVID-19 would be taken to make the festival safe.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought contractions in many sectors of the economy in recent months, though some sectors including e-commerce have enjoyed strong growth as more consumers went online.
Credit card payments for online shopping during the third quarter saw a 22.7 percent year-on-year bump to 45.84 trillion won compared to the same time last year, according to recent data from the Financial Services Commission, while other sectors such as aviation and accommodation suffered an 81.2 and 19.7 percent drop, respectively.
According to the event’s organizers, the number of manufacturing companies that produce items such as cars, clothes, home appliances and cosmetics tripled compared to last year. Tech giants such as Samsung and LG as well as home appliance makers Cuchen and Winia are offering discounts of up to 40 percent on TVs, refrigerators and laptops.
EBay Korea also launched its own sales event Big Smile Day on Sunday.
During the event which continues until Nov. 12, prices for daily necessities and processed food products on GMarket and Auction will be slashed by up to 40 percent. The discounts apply to products that are available for its Smile Delivery service – a service that allows shoppers to order multiple items in one box.
Some of the 32 brands that are on board with this year’s event include Ottogi, Kellogg’s, CJ CheilJedang and Pulmuone.
Another e-commerce platform WeMakePrice is holding a three-day sales event starting Sunday, offering up to a 45 percent discount for major brands such as cosmetics company Amorepacific and sanitary product manufacturer Yuhan-Kimberly.
The regular discount shopping periods have been billed as “Korean Black Friday” in recent years, a nod to the shopping tradition in the US that happens each November.
By Yim Hyun-su (email@example.com