SEOUL, May 15 (Korea Bizwire) – “Big Data,” gleaned from credit card usage patterns have revealed Chinese consumers are increasingly calling the shot in Korean local market.
Data on the usage of credit cards by foreigners in Korea showed that the credit card usage of Chinese tourists increased 82.7 percent last year from the previous year and their share among total foreigners in credit card usage in Korea rose to 48.1 percent in 2013 from 32.6 percent in 2012.
According to a report “Domestic Credit Card Usage Volume by Foreigners in Korea,” foreign card holders spent in total 7.8 trillion won in Korea last year, a 23.8-percent increase from 2012. By country, China led with 48.1 percent, followed by Japan (18.5%) and the U.S. (9.5%). Credit card usage by the Chinese increased 82.7 percent over the previous year, while that by the Japanese declined 22.4 percent due to the weak yen.
Shinhan Card analyzed the credit card transaction patterns by foreigners in Korea jointly with the Korea Culture Information Service Agency, under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The phenomenon of increased credit card usage by the Chinese in Korea can be found in their portions by the industrial classification. In shopping sector, Chinese tourists on average share 61.0 percent with shopping center or shopping malls (70.3%), duty-free shops (68.9%), department stores (65.7%) and big-box retailers and convenient stores (56.4%).
In sports sector including ski and golf, they took a 6.5-percent share and in service sectors like hair salons, they shared 43.9 percent. In medical, dining and lodging sectors, the Chinese topped the ranks with 46.6 percent, 46.6 percent and 46.1 percent respectively.
Park Chang-hoon, head of the Big Data Marketing Team at Shinhan Card, said, “According to our analysis, the Chinese spent much in various places and sectors centering on individual tourists weighing on experience in sports and culture. Also, they spent a large volume of money in medical and home appliances.”
“Following the trend, Korean industry needs to develop a marketing strategy considering the varied domestic consumption trend,” he added.
Meanwhile, business sectors which gained increased consumption by foreigners included sports (103.2%), medical (60.1%), dining (40.9%), shopping (21.3%) and lodging (14.9%). Especially, in the medical sector, foreigners’ credit card usage increased 60.1 percent in domestic hospitals and plastic surgery (77.6%) and general hospitals (57.2%).
By region, foreigners spent much in Seoul (67.7%), Gyeonggi Province (6.7%) and Incheon (5.7). Jeju, ranked fifth with 3.0 percent, showed a 54.7-percent increase in 2013 from the previous year thanks to an inflow of Chinese tourists.
Written by John Choi (firstname.lastname@example.org)