Homebound S. Koreans Prompt Changes in Consumption Patterns | Be Korea-savvy

Homebound S. Koreans Prompt Changes in Consumption Patterns


SEOUL, May 22 (Korea Bizwire)Amid concerns over a possible blow to the economy due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, unexpected beneficiaries are emerging.

While revenues at travel agencies and airlines have dropped precipitously due to social distancing and recommendations to remain at home, plastic surgery and ophthalmology clinics have been buoyed by the recent health care crisis.

The Hana Institute of Finance, a research unit of Hana Financial Group Inc., compared KEB Hana Card Co.’s credit card spending data thus far for this year and the first quarter of last year, and found that a distinct polarization in outcomes in the medical industry.

Revenues at most hospitals and clinics, including pediatrics, otolaryngology, and oriental medicine decreased significantly in March, dropping by 46 percent, 42 percent and 27 percent, respectively.


However, plastic surgery and ophthalmology were exceptions. Sales increased by 9 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

Analysts suggested that many South Koreans had chosen to take advantage of being confined at home to undergo plastic surgery or ophthalmology procedures.

In terms of transportation, sales of bicycles in particular increased sharply, up 45 percent in the first quarter from last year.

For the month of March alone, bike sales were up 69 percent from last year. This can be interpreted as people preferring to travel short distances and opting for an eco-friendly alternative to public transportation.


In addition, while most offline shopping sales have decreased due to the boom of Internet shopping, sales at convenience stores and supermarkets, which are typically close to home, have increased by 6 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, the average purchase amount per transaction at hypermarkets and department stores in March rose by 33 percent and 6 percent, respectively, from last year, although total sales and the number of transactions decreased.

It seems that there is a strong tendency to buy more when visiting retailers in person.

Image Credit: Korea Bizwire / Yonhap / photonews@koreabizwire.com

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