SEOUL, Nov. 22 (Korea Bizwire) – Sales of premium electronic products and foreign luxury brands outperformed the overall consumption trend in South Korea as more affluent consumers preferred differentiated products, industry officials said Tuesday.
Household spending was sluggish in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, but demand for premium products and luxury goods remained strong this year.
To target the high-end market, the nation’s big two electronics makers — Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. — have stepped up marketing for their premium lineups to boost profitability.
Samsung said its four-door refrigerators accounted for 20 percent of total sales in 2012, and they are expected to reach over 60 percent this year. The premium lineup, which includes the Chef Collection and the T9000, are priced between 5-7 million won. (US$4,260-5,965).
Samsung’s “breeze-free” air conditioner, the Q9500, also enjoyed popularity since its launch in January, which has sold 240,000 units as of October. Among standing air conditioners sold in the domestic market, the breeze-free air conditioners accounted for over 70 percent, the firm said.
LG Electronics, which launched its premium home appliance “Signature” brand in March, also said sales of the expensive products were better than expected, noting the number of experience zones has risen from 40 in April to 200 nationwide of late.
Its flagship washer, the Twin Wash, the world’s first front-load washing machine that comes with another mini-drum in the pedestal, was well-received by consumers since its launch in July 2015. Twin Wash, which is priced up to 3 million won, took up more than half of its washer sales in the first half of this year, the firm said.
Foreign luxury goods were also in high demand at local department stores.
Lotte Department Store, the nation’s No. 1 department chain, said sales of foreign clothing brands surged 20.8 percent on-year in the first 10 months of the year, and those of imported watches and jewelry gained 14.2 percent over the period.
Furniture sales grew 8.9 percent on-year in the January-October period, driven by a sharp rise in sales of imported brands.
“More consumers prefer differentiated products rather than just cheap products,” said Song Chang-hyun, a chief buyer at Lotte Department’s furniture section. “It means more consumers favor foreign premium brands, which are considered as something unique and rare.”
Hyundai Department Store said sales of foreign watches jumped 31.7 percent in the same period, nearly tripling those of low- and mid-priced watches, and foreign luxury goods and clothes also showed double-digit growth.