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Online retail sales jump 14.1 percent in April 2019-05-30

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on May 30 that sales of Korea’s online retail industry improved 14.1 percent in April compared to the same period last year. Offline retailers, on the other hand, saw a 2.9 percent decrease in sales, resulting in a 3.5 percent growth in overall retail sales.
The Ministry releases monthly retail sales figures 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, sales at convenience stores and SSMs posted growth while those at hypermarkets and department stores declined.

Convenience stores experienced a sales increase of 3.1 percent thanks to greater demand for instant foods such as fried foods and mass-produced baked goods. Processed foods, including snacks and beverages, were also in higher demand.

Sales at SSMs also gained 1.1 percent mostly due to enhanced food sales. Seasonal fruits as well as imported fruits and produce saw improvement.

Department stores, however, showed a 3.8 percent decline in sales. Fewer summer clothes were sold because of lower temperature compared to last year. Only the sales of global brands increased.

Sales at hypermarkets went down 7.7 percent as more consumers turned to other options to do shipping. Decreases were seen in clothing, home appliances/culture, and household goods.

For web-based retailers, sales advanced at both online sellers and online shopping intermediaries.

Online sellers saw a sales growth of 9.4 percent. Sales of home appliances climbed up as consumers prepared for the summer heat. Travel plans also gained popularity due to holidays earlier this month, resulting in a sales improvement in the service sector.

Sales at online shopping intermediaries went up 16.1 percent. This is largely attributable to improved sales of food, along with their upgraded delivery services and expansion of items available for sale. Household goods and furniture showed growth because do-it-yourself products were in greater demand and more gifts were sold. May is celebrated as the month for families in Korea.

By product, sales of all categories posted year-on-year growths, except for fashion/accessories which shrank 2.3 percent. The highest growth rate was seen in global brands (up 14.6 percent), followed by home appliances/culture (up 7.5 percent), food (up 3.9 percent), kids/sports (up 3.7 percent), services/others (up 3.6 percent), and household goods (up 3.2 percent).

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