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Online retail sales register double-digit growth in November 2019-01-03

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on December 31 that Korea’s online retail sales in November registered a double-digit growth rate of 12.7 percent compared to a year earlier. With offline retail sales declining 0.5 percent, the overall retail sales saw an improvement of 4.6 percent.
Despite growth in convenience stores and super supermarkets (SSMs), brick-and-mortar stores experienced a decrease in sales because hypermarkets slowed down.

The growth of the online sales maintained double-digit rates as a result of more aggressive sales promotion activities by Korean retailers.

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 SSM operators. The other half are online retailers: nine major online sellers and four online shopping intermediaries.

For offline retailers, the sales at the convenience stores chains and the SSM operators expanded while those at the hypermarkets and the department store chains contracted.

Sales at the convenience store chains grew 6.5 percent mostly due to the increased number of stores and greater demand for food. Sales per store, however, inched down 1.8 percent.

The SSM operators saw a sales growth of 1.4 percent on the back of increased food sales. In particular, the popularity of instant food and frozen meals grew.

Sales at the hypermarket chains, on the other hand, went down 2.8 percent because of decreased non-food sales, which were affected by expanding online stores and specialty stores.

The department store chains had a 3.9 percent drop in sales. Especially, the sales of kids/sports categories contracted because demand for outdoor clothing fell. The warmer weather last month compared to November 2017 contributed to this decline.

For online retailers, sales at the nine online sellers grew 17.5 percent. This is attributable to greater demand for food and service products. The four online shopping intermediaries increased 10.9 percent in sales due to various sales promotion efforts.

By product, sales of all seven major categories increased except for fashion/accessories and kids/sports. Among them, the services category posted the greatest sales growth of 13.1 percent, followed by the home appliances/culture category that increased 10.8 percent in sales.

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