The Korea Herald


S. Korean O2O services grow fast in COVID-19 pandemic

By Shim Woo-hyun

Published : April 8, 2021 - 17:23

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South Korea’s online-to-offline, or O2O, services marked rapid growth amid the booming stay-at-home economy last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, government data showed Thursday.

According to data from the Ministry of Science and ICT, the total trading volume created through local O2O services for the whole of last year reached 126 trillion won ($112.83 billion), up 29.6 percent from 97 trillion won a year earlier.

The increase largely stemmed from expanded transactions in the e-commerce and food delivery sectors. Transactions in the two sectors grew 23.7 percent on-year to reach 35.3 trillion won. The trading volume of the food delivery sector alone reached 20.2 trillion won last year, up from 14 trillion won in 2019.

The ministry said the number of O2O service companies rose to 678 last year from 555 in 2019.

O2O service providers’ combined sales last year reached 3.5 trillion won, up 18.3 percent from 2.97 trillion won in 2019, the data showed.

The number of businesses that sold goods and services via O2O platforms surged by 55.6 percent to 533,000 last year, from 342,000 in 2019. This figure, however, included businesses that had partnered with several platforms.

The number of restaurants and lodging facilities that partnered with O2O services last year reached 359,000, accounting for 67.4 percent of all businesses with O2O service partnerships.

Retailers of personal care and beauty products and financial service providers that collaborated with O2O services accounted for 12.9 percent.

The number of workers involved in O2O services increased 8.1 percent to around 580,000 people in 2019.

The data showed that around 18,000 people worked at O2O platform companies. The other 560,000 worked at affiliated companies -- for example, as delivery workers or housekeepers.

By Shim Woo-hyun (