SEOUL, Sept. 3 (Korea Bizwire) — South Koreans spent more at duty-free shops this year after the government widened tax breaks last year, while domestic consumption remained in the doldrums, a survey showed Thursday.
According to the survey conducted by online travel agency Expedia on 1,000 salaried workers between the ages of 20 and 49 in the nation, some 21 percent of the respondents said they spent more $300 at duty-free shops, compared with 15.3 percent last year.
Also, the portion of those whose spending exceeds $400 more than doubled to 13 percent, the survey showed.
Half of the respondents shopped at international airports and a quarter of them made their purchases at online duty-free shops, while the rest of them used mobile shops and downtown stores, it said.
The increased spending for duty-free goods was in line with a surge in overseas credit card spending after the government last September raised the duty-free allowance on items that South Koreans can bring in from overseas from $400 to $600.
Daily overseas credit card bills reached a record 28.6 billion won (US$24.3 million) in the first six months of the year, up 21.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Bank of Korea (BOK).
Cosmetics were the top item among female shoppers, while accessories, food and luxury goods were frequently purchased at duty-free shops. Male travelers preferred alcohol and accessories the most and favored cosmetics and cigarettes as well.