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Korea’s online retail sales improve 8.7% in July 2019-08-30

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on August 29 that Korea’s online retail sales in July saw a year-on-year improvement of 8.7 percent. Overall retail sales, however, inched down 0.1 percent as sales at brick-and-mortar stores decreased 5.6 percent.
These results are based on surveys of 26 major retailers. Half of them are brick-and-mortar retailers: three department store chains, three hypermarket chains, three convenience store chains, and four super supermarket (SSM) operators. The other half are online retailers: nine major online sellers and four online shopping intermediaries.

For offline retailers, all types, except for convenience stores, experienced a decrease in sales.

Sales at convenience stores grew 2.4 percent. Consumers bought more home meal replacement products such as hamburgers and sandwiches, increasing the sales of instant food by 1.2 percent. Newly launched health supplements also gained popularity.

SSMs saw a sales decline of 2.7 percent mainly due to decreased sales of food (down 2.1 percent) and daily necessities (down 9.0 percent). For food, fruit and ice cream were in less demand.

Sales at department stores contracted 4.0 percent as clothing sales fell. Sales of women’s suits and women’s casual apparel decreased 6.5 percent and 17.0 percent, respectively. Sales of men’s clothing declined 9.6 percent.

Hypermarkets posted a 13.3 percent decrease in sales. Cooler weather on average compared to last year reduced sales of home appliances by 26.6 percent. Demand for food went down 7.7 percent.

For web-based retailers, both online sellers and online shopping intermediaries produced sales growth.

Online sellers sold 3.6 percent more than they did during the same period last year. Sales of home appliances jumped 18.5 percent as dehumidifiers and small appliances grew popular. Sales of service/others advanced 5.9 percent thanks to the promotion of tour programs.

Sales at online shopping intermediaries went up 10.8 percent due to upgraded delivery services and greater varieties of products. Food sales, in particular, rose 35.9 percent.

By product, year-on-year sales decreases were seen in four categories: home appliances (down 4.6 percent), fashion/accessories (down 3.5 percent), kids/sports (down 2.3 percent), and food (down 0.3 percent). Meanwhile, sales of global brands posted the largest growth of 19.2 percent, followed by service/others (up 5.2 percent) and household goods (up 0.1 percent).

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