SEOUL, Dec. 9 (Korea Bizwire) – Stores and restaurants near Gwanghwamun Square, which has been the center of mass candlelight protests for almost two months, have seen sales soar with the ongoing civil unrest.
According to KB Kookmin Card, the number of credit card transactions increased by 24 percent to 1,086,910 compared to last year on the six Saturdays (from Saturday October 29 to Saturday December 3) when mass protests took place in the area (Jung and Jongno districts).
Fast food restaurants saw demand jump the most, with a total of 49,994 transactions and an increase of 65.1 percent. The average increase for all fast food restaurants across the country was 18.2 percent during the same period.
Next in line were performance or exhibition halls, which saw an increase of 64.9 percent compared to a nationwide average increase of 39.2 percent, followed by convenience stores (50.6 percent) and hotels (39.2 percent) – both of which were higher than national average increases of 13 percent and 33.1 percent, respectively.
“A massive number of people gathering in one place naturally led to big increases for fast food restaurants and convenience stores,” said a KB official. “As for performance and exhibition halls, we believe people took part in the rallies after visiting such venues.”
In terms of the number of credit card transactions, coffeehouses had the highest tally with 238,222 on the six Saturdays, followed by convenience stores (164,594), Korean restaurants (126,393), and fast food restaurants (49,994).
In contrast, family restaurants in the area saw their credit card transactions drop by 35.9 percent, while the national average drop was only 0.9 percent. Movie theaters (-23.5 percent) and accommodations such as motels and hostels (-14.3 percent) also experienced a decline, compared to nationwide averages of -0.5 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, those in their 20s were responsible for the most credit card transactions during the same period with a total of 382,382, followed by 30-somethings (267,977), and 40-somethings (212,132). The highest number of transactions on a single day came during the third nationwide rally on Saturday, November 12 with 195,983 transactions in the area, followed by the sixth nationwide rally on Saturday December 3 with 187,348.
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)