E-commerce in South Korea - Statistics & Facts

South Korea is one of the biggest e-commerce markets worldwide. As a consumer society with an internet usage rate of close to 92 percent among the population, it is no surprise that e-commerce holds a strong position in South Korea. Industry figures suggest that the retail e-commerce volume will continue to increase, especially due to the impact of COVID-19. Internet shopping was especially popular among people under 40, with over 94 percent of South Koreans from 20 to 39 using internet shopping.

Market leaders

In 2020, the leading online shopping categories based on sales were food and beverages, as well as home appliances. Due to more time spent at home and travel restrictions, online travel arrangement and reservation services expenses had decreased heavily, compared to the prior year. Among the items bought online the most within the previous year, clothing, footwear, sporting goods, and accessories took the first place by a large margin.
As of September 2021, the most popular online shopping property was coupang.com, which is especially known for its fast next-day delivery service. For the first time, Coupang overtook eBay owned online marketplace G-market.

Mobile shopping

Mobile retail e-commerce sales are also particularly strong in South Korea. The share of mobile transaction value accounted a large percentage of total online transaction value. Mobile shopping has become a popular way to pass time. When asked about situations in which mobile shoppers use mobile shopping apps in 2021, over 40 percent of respondents stated that they used them when they are bored. The same survey found that around 37.2 percent of mobile shoppers had around four to six mobile shopping apps installed on their smartphone.

COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of online shopping has increased around the world. Concerns about safety led many South Koreans to an increased use of online shopping services. A survey found that a majority of respondents reported that they increased their online shopping compared to their shopping behavior before the pandemic. Leading products increasingly bought online during the pandemic were food and groceries.

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