SEOUL, Aug. 31 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s nonstore retail sales jumped more than 19 percent to a new all-time high in the first half of the year due to the coronavirus outbreak, data showed Monday.
Consumer spending through online shopping and other nonstore channels swelled 19.4 percent on-year to 46.2 trillion won (US$39.1 billion) in the January-June period, according to the data from the Korea Small Business Institute and Statistics Korea.
The amount was also up 13 percent from the second half of last year and more than double the 22.6 trillion won posted in the first half of 2015.
The coronavirus outbreak, whose first case was confirmed in South Korea in late January, has forced many South Koreans to stay home and work from home, leading them to resort more to nonstore spending.
In contrast to nonstore retailing, department stores and other specialty retail outlets suffered heavy setbacks due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Department store sales sank 13.4 percent on-year to 12.9 trillion won in the first half, with specialty store sales falling 10.3 percent to 61.1 trillion won. In particular, sales by duty-free shops tumbled 37.1 percent to 7.3 trillion won as the coronavirus pandemic brought cross-border trips to a virtual halt.
Discount store sales edged up 1.1 percent on-year to 16.2 trillion won in the six-month period, with sales by convenience stores gaining 2.8 percent to 12.7 trillion won.