SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Korea Bizwire) — Retail sales in South Korea rose 9.2 percent on-year in 2022 on the back of growing outdoor activities on eased social distancing rules amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, the industry ministry said Thursday.
The combined sales of local offline retailers rose 8.9 percent on-year from the previous year, and those of online stores increased 9.5 percent, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Department stores saw their sales jump 15.7 percent on-year last year on strong demand for clothing, goods for children and luxury items.
Sales of convenience stores went up 10.8 percent last year, as more people purchased daily necessities near their homes, and small, packaged food and other items became more popular.
Sales of discount chain stores advanced 1.4 percent, while those of smaller supermarkets inched down 0.2 percent, according to the data.
On online platforms, sales of the service segment, such as travel and art performances, spiked 22.7 percent, and demand for cosmetics shot up 18 percent on-year.
Sales of groceries also surged 17 percent last year amid high prices, the ministry said.
Online platforms accounted for 48.6 percent of the total sales last year, slightly up from 48.4 percent a year earlier.
In December alone, retail sales rose 6.7 percent to 15.1 trillion won (US$12.38 billion), with sales of offline retailers rising 9 percent on-year and those of online platforms going up 4.3 percent, the data showed.
In a major step toward regaining pre-pandemic normalcy, the government lifted most strict antivirus regulations in April last year, such as business curfews and the cap on private gatherings.
All schools resumed in-person classes, and most companies ended their remote working policies.