SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Korea Bizwire) – Sales at South Korea’s duty-free stores rose 36.4 percent in the first nine months of this year from a year earlier on increased buying by foreign tourists, especially Chinese, data showed Thursday.
Sales at 50 duty-free stores nationwide came to 8.93 trillion won (US$7.9 billion) in the January-September period, compared with 6.55 trillion won a year ago, according to data compiled by Korea Customs Service.
If the current sales trend continues, annual sales at the duty-free stores could top 10 trillion won for the first time this year.
Foreign goods accounted for 59.5 percent of the sales while the rest were South Korean products.
Data showed that 20.9 million South Koreans bought products at the duty-free stores during the first nine months, accounting for 57.2 percent. In comparison, 15.6 million foreigners enjoyed shopping at the duty-free stores, or 42.8 percent of the total users.
Still, per capita spending by foreigners came to $350 while that of South Koreans reached $106.
Korea Tourism Organization said 11.48 million foreigners came to South Korea in the first eight months of this year, the latest months for which official data is available. Among them, Chinese accounted for 48 percent of them.