SEOUL, Feb. 12 (Korea Bizwire) — Sales of toys and functional foods are surging in South Korea as children stay home longer and people pay more attention to their health due to a prolonged new coronavirus scare, industry sources said Wednesday.
Online shopping site Auction said its sales of toys for toddlers and children skyrocketed from a year earlier in the seven-day period to Sunday.
Sales of slides and other large toys nearly tripled over the cited period, and shipments of multi-function play sets, which combine a slide with a jungle gym, shot up 12-fold.
Sales of ball tents and toy blocks surged 285 percent and 72 percent, respectively, with those of mobile toys like cars and airplanes soaring 116 percent.
In addition, sales of educational toys, including calculator toys, soared 367 percent, and those of toy craft kits jumped 86 percent.
Another online vendor, Gmarket, also saw toys and other children’s goods sell like hot cakes.
Gmarket’s sales of slides and toy blocks spiked 111 percent and 106 percent, respectively, over the cited period. Sales of children’s cartoons increased 86 percent, with those of picture books gaining 61 percent.
Industry sources attributed the surge to escalating concerns over the spread of the deadly coronavirus that is believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
“It seems that sales of toys have risen sharply because more parents are tending to take care of their vulnerable children at home due to the spread of the novel coronavirus,” said an Auction official on condition of anonymity.
Toymakers are not alone. The new coronavirus scare has come as a boon to South Korean manufacturers of functional foods — foods or substances beneficial to health.
LOHB’s, the health and beauty store chain of South Korea’s No. 2 retailer Lotte Shopping Co., saw its online sales of functional foods shoot up 579 percent on-year from Jan. 27-Tuesday.
Sales of vitamins, known to boost immunity, rose as much as 2,077 percent, and those of probiotics surged 730 percent.
Lotte.com Inc., the e-commerce arm of Lotte Shopping Co., reported a 124 percent surge in sales of vitamin C products over the cited period.
As of Wednesday, China’s death toll from the new coronavirus topped 1,110. South Korea had 28 confirmed coronavirus cases with no deaths reported.