The Korea Herald

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Direct overseas shopping up 60% over 5 years

By Yu Ji-soo

Published : Feb. 15, 2023 - 15:43

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The value of overseas direct shopping exceeded $4.7 billion last year, significantly up from $2.7 billion in 2018, according to the latest data from the Korea Customs Service released Wednesday.

The number of users also tripled over the past five years from 5.19 million to 15.57 million last year. It is the first time the figure has exceeded 15 million, coming to more than 1 in 4 people here.

The most popular category for purchases was health-related foods, on which buyers spent a whopping $862 million, followed by clothing, home appliances and shoes. The ranking remained consistent over the five-year period.

The increase in orders also inevitably led to a subsequent increase in customer complaints filed with the Korea Consumer Agency. The agency reported a cumulative sum of over 100,000 complaints from 2018 to 2022.

Complaints regarding delays or order cancellations, refunds and exchanges were most common with 43,298 in total. Cancellation charges and fraudulent commission complaints came next at 15,840, followed by delivery-related complaints at 12,496.

Rep. Yang Kyung-sook of the Democratic Party, who relayed the data from the Korea Customs Office, said, “The processes for exchanges, returns and warranty are much more complicated for overseas orders than they are for domestic ones, so reading all relevant details prior to purchasing is very important.

“I hope that relevant authorities also actively put appropriate measures in place to prevent and manage consumer troubles.”