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Overall retail sales in Korea improve 8% in May 2019-06-27

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on June 27 that Korea’s overall retail sales in May saw a year-on-year growth of 8.0 percent as both offline and online retailers experienced sales improvement.
Specifically, sales of brick-and-mortar stores inched up 1.9 percent compared to the same period last year, while those of web-based retailers jumped 18.1 percent.

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 physical retailers, all store types, except for hypermarkets, posted growth in sales.

Sales at convenience stores expanded 8.4 percent. An increasing number of single-person households created greater demand for food whose sales rose 11.0 percent. Sales of processed food went up 11.6 percent, and those of instant food enhanced 8.3 percent.

Sales at SSMs expanded 1.0 percent thanks to higher demand for food. Sales of agricultural products, fisheries, and livestock improved 1.5 percent while those of ready-to-eat meals grew 3.3 percent.

Department stores experienced a 2.7 percent increase in sales. In particular, sales of global brands increased 17.5 percent as products were offered at discounted prices at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, sales at hypermarkets went down 3.6 percent as sales of all categories decreased. Home appliances fell 5.8 percent and household goods declined 5.2 percent. Consumers continued to shift to other means of shopping such as online shopping.

For digital retailers, sales improved at both online sellers and online shopping intermediaries.

Sales at online sellers grew 11.2 percent on the back of growing sales of home appliances (up 44.8 percent) and service/others (up 12.7 percent). Hand sterilizers and hand dryers gained popularity. Travel packages in May also attracted more consumers.

Online shopping intermediaries saw a sales increase of 20.9 percent thanks to growth in the food segment (up 47.0 percent) and the household goods segment (up 23.5 percent). Food sales improved because of enhanced delivery services and a wider range of items offered. Among furniture, bedding sets for summer were particularly popular among consumers.

By product, sales of all categories recorded year-on-year increases, led by global brands (up 17.5 percent). The second highest growth rate was seen in home appliances (up 12.8 percent), followed by kids/sports (up 9.6 percent), service/others (up 7.7 percent), household goods (up 7.5 percent), food (up 7.0 percent), and fashion/accessories (up 4.3 percent).

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