Retail sales in South Korea increase 3.3 percent year-on-year in August due to heightened demand for online platforms

Yonhap News

SEOUL, Sept. 26 (Yonhap) — Despite the decline in offline retailers’ sales, retail sales in the country rose 3.3 percent in August from the same period a year earlier, as more people opted for online stores to purchase necessities and items for summer vacation, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Tuesday.

The total sales of 25 major offline and online retailers came to 14.8 trillion won (US$11.05 billion) last month, compared to 14.3 trillion won in August of 2022, according to the ministry’s data.

Online platforms reported an 8.1 percent increase in sales to 7.52 trillion won, as more people shopped for food, cosmetics, and other services during the summer season.

In contrast, offline retailers saw a 1.2 percent drop in sales to 7.29 trillion won, due to the delayed Chuseok fall harvest holiday this year.

This year’s Chuseok falls on Sept. 29, as opposed to Sept. 10, 2022, as the date is determined by the lunar calendar.

Department stores had a 4.9 percent decrease in sales, and discount chain stores, such as E-Mart and Lotte Mart, experienced an 8.4 percent year-on-year decline in demand for Chuseok gifts and related items.

The sales of foreign luxury brands and home appliances also decreased year-on-year.

Conversely, convenience stores saw a 7.6 percent growth in sales, and the sales of smaller supermarkets rose 3.2 percent in August.

Online platforms accounted for 50.8 percent of total sales in August, up from 48.5 percent a year earlier, the ministry said.

Fruits and other goods are on display as gifts for Chuseok at a discount store in Sept. 18, 2023. (Yonhap)

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