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Online retail sales up 17.8% in September 2019-10-31

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on October 30 that online retail sales in Korea went up 17.8 percent year-on-year in September. Sales at brick-and-mortar stores, on the other hand, decreased 5 percent. As a result, overall retail sales inched up 2.7 percent.
These findings are based on surveys of 26 major retailers. Half of them are offline 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.

Sales at physical stores decreased mainly because of a decline in demand for food and fashion/accessories. Earlier Chuseok holidays and the warmer weather compared to last year contributed to the weaker demand.

The only type of offline retailers that experienced sales growth was convenience stores. Sales at convenience stores increased 2.8 percent on the back of over-the-counter medicines and desserts.

Sales at SSMs went down 7.1 percent as the number of stores decreased by 31 compared to last year. Among items, food saw a sales decrease of 6.9 percent.

Department stores saw a 5.6 percent decrease in sales. A sales decline was noticeable among fashion items: women’s suits (down 4.7 percent), women's casual clothing (down 17.8 percent), and men’s clothing (down 6.2 percent).

Sales at hypermarkets dropped 9.6 percent mostly due to clothing (down 22.3 percent) and food (down 8.6 percent).

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

Sales at online sellers climbed up 11.0 percent. Sales of home appliances jumped 48.1 percent, and those of fashion/clothing grew 13.0 percent.

Online shopping intermediaries saw a sales improvement of 20.5 percent. Sales of home appliances and household goods increased 26.1 percent and 37.0 percent, respectively.

By product, a year-on-year sales increase was seen in every category except for fashion/accessories (down 0.8 percent) and food (down 2.8 percent). Products that posted sales growth were home appliances (up 19.3 percent), kids/sports (up 1.7 percent), household goods (up 10.7 percent), service/others (up 1.1 percent), and global brands (up 14.7 percent).

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