SEOUL, Dec.3 (Korea Bizwire) – While sales of domestic beer are declining at large supermarkets, foreign beer sales are rising rapidly.
According to Emart, a large retailer, sales of domestic canned beer and PET bottled beer from January to November fell 2.2 percent and 6.4 percent respectively compared to the same period last year, but sales of foreign beer increased 18.7 percent.
Imported beer took up 32.2 percent of beer sales at Emart in 2013, increasing to 34.4 percent in 2014 and 39 percent between January and November of this year. The sales increased 43.8 percent last month.
Unlike foreign beer sold at restaurants and bars, imported beer sold at supermarkets is usually consumed at home. This could be interpreted as a change in the preference of consumers from domestic beer to foreign beer.
Emart currently sells 50 different types of domestic beer and 200 different types of foreign beer. The popular foreign brands are Heineken, Asahi, Hoegaarden, Paulaner Brewery, Bear Beer, Sapporo, Guinness, TsingTao and Pilsener Urquell.
Foreign beer also represents more than 40 percent of the total sales of beer at Homeplus, and sales of foreign beer are also increasing at Lotte Mart.
Industry watchers add that government plans to restrict discounts on imported beer also played a role in boosting the sales of foreign beer.
According to the current liquor tax law, domestic beer companies are banned from discounting their prices under the factory price. However, foreign beer companies were able to lower their costs, as the distributor prices were hard to track. The domestic manufacturers have repeatedly asked the government to regulate imported beers.
However, consumers resisted fiercely at the news, claiming that the government is taking away the small pleasure of enjoying beer at a cheaper price. Industry watchers say that the soaring sales of imported beer were part of a rejection of the government plans to regulate prices.
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)