SEOUL, June 17 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s salaried workers spent less on congratulatory and condolence money for weddings and funerals in the first quarter as they felt the pinch amid an extended economic slowdown, government data showed Friday.
In the three months ended March 31, people spent an average of 250,127 won (US$214) to congratulate a couple on their marriage or to express their condolences. It was down 3.3 percent from a year earlier, according to data from Statistics Korea.
“In the household spending data, the ratio of such cash gifts has accounted for a lion’s share. Faced with escalating economic uncertainties, salaried workers likely reduced their spending (for those events),” a Statistics Korea official said.
Koreans usually deliver 50,000 won to 100,000 won in a white envelope when they participate in wedding or funeral events. Depending on their closeness to the marrying couple, their parents, the deceased or their bereaved family members, the value of the money will go higher.
The country’s office workers also reduced their donations to religious organizations and non-profit civil rights groups in the first three months. Their contributions fell 2.8 percent year-over-year to 103,256 won in the March quarter, the data said.
Wages have not increased much or remained unchanged as companies have cut spending and hired fewer people to survive the slowdown since the 2008 global economic crisis.