The Korea Herald

소아쌤

Stroller importers charge twice as much in Korea

By Korea Herald

Published : March 28, 2012 - 21:41

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Koreans’ fever for luxury goods has been spreading rapidly to children’s products.

Now a growing number of young parents want to show off their parenting ― and lifestyle ― with pricey baby strollers, especially those from Europe and the U.S.

A survey Wednesday, however, found that local importers of foreign brand strollers have taken advantage of the luxury trend in parenting, almost doubling selling prices in Korea compared to the prices in their original countries.

According to Consumers Korea, a consumer advocacy group, the local price of hit Xplory from Stokke was 1.89 million won ($1,665), the highest price tag for the model anywhere in the world.

The Netherlands brand imported by local importer Papanco is one of the most favored brand strollers here.

But its prices were cheaper in other countries such as Spain at 1.37 million won, the U.S. at 1.34 million won, Italy at 1.21 million won and the Netherlands at 1.11 million won.

The group also found that the 1.98 million won Pulsar made by Italian brand Cam was the priciest stroller sold in Korea. The price was more than double the Italian price of 970,000 won.

Trip, from another Italian brand Inglesina, despite a relatively low price, showed the biggest price gap between Korea and other countries. Its strollers, exclusively imported and marketed by Korea’s leading baby care company Boryung Medience, were priced at 425,000 won, while its prices were 245,000 won in the U.S. and Spain, 193,000 won in the Netherlands and 176,000 won in Italy.

Boryung was also selling three other brands including Bugaboo, Quinny and Maxi-Cosi for higher prices at 1.05 million won even though their original price tags ranged between 518,000 won and 829,000 won.

The group, which surveyed the prices of 16 foreign-brand strollers in six countries with financing from the Fair Trade Commission, said that the Korean prices were the highest as some local importers owned the selling rights exclusively.

“Even though the tariffs on import strollers were abolished as of January 2011, Korean consumers still purchase them at higher prices due to limited distribution channels,” said an official from the group.

“Local importers raise prices based on their premium pricing strategy, not by market competition. Currently they are enjoying about a 30 percent profit margin.”

The retail margin for retailers, mostly department stores, also amounted to 30 to 35 percent of the selling prices.

As the result, the group said, the import price of a 1 million won foreign-brand stroller was just 300,000 won.

Of the 44 brand strollers sold at the nation’s top three department stores, Lotte, Shinsegae and Hyundai, only 3 to 7 percent were from Korean companies.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)