SEJONG, Oct. 15 (Korea Bizwire) – The first Korean ‘Black Friday’ shopping event, which was initiated by the government and promoted across the country over the past two weeks, ended on October 14.
The event was a desperate attempt by the government to boost consumption, with domestic demand frozen and exports low. The promotion benchmarked the American ‘Black Friday’, which falls on the last Friday in November and launches a buying frenzy that continues until the end of the year. Around 20 percent of annual consumption is said to occur during this period.
At first, businesses and consumers were skeptical about the event, since it was a government initiative, and the domestic market already has sale events occurring throughout the year.
When the promotion was first launched, there were many complaints and much criticism. Since there was little time to prepare, the focus of the event seemed very misguided. Some businesses were upset because they had to participate when they didn’t want to. Consumers were dissatisfied with what was perceived as small discount rates.
However, though the start seemed like a mess, the results of the promotion turned out to be somewhat successful. According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, sales at major department stores such as Lotte, Hyundai and Shinsegae increased 24.7 percent compared to the previous year. Sales at online shopping malls also jumped 26.7 percent, while sales at electronics retailers such as Electronic Land and Himart also climbed 18.7 percent, igniting the recovery of the domestic market.
Considering that the period after the Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) holidays is usually considered as an off-season, the Black Friday promotion seems to have contributed to stimulating the domestic market.
Experts and officials say that scenes of crowded shopping areas helped boost confidence that the economy could recover. They say that despite the many shortcomings of the first event, the outcome was good, and a new sales possibility has been discovered. The government has decided to make the Black Friday event an annual one.
Changes will be made to improve future editions of the sale, like boosting discounts and encouraging more manufacturers to participate. In addition, the government plans to include traditional markets and small businesses in future Black Friday events.
The naming and timing of future events will be established after gathering the opinions of consumers and industry officials.
By Francine Jung (email@example.com)