The domestic markets for outdoor products and cheaper clothing are dwindling in the second half of this year even though they are regarded as recession-proof, showing how deep the slump is.
The outdoor products market has so far recorded a two-digit growth rate every year.
"When there was news of outdoor goods still doing well in the times of recession, more than 10 new brands entered the market. Every season, consumers bought new items, but they no longer open their wallets," said an industry source.
The confectionary industry has also been affected. Confectionary products are mostly cheap little snacks, and previous recessions left their popularity undimmed. But market leader Lotte Confectionary's operating profit in the second quarter this year was W32.8 billion (US$1=W1,091), down 2 percent from a year ago.
An industry insider said the performance in the third quarter "is likely to be worse, which has never happened before."
Fast fashion labels have been enjoying solid growth despite the recession, but they too are feeling the pinch. Their sales growth in department stores dropped by an average of 10 percent compared to a year ago.
A fashion industry insider said, "The fact that even affordable brands are struggling shows that the recession is now pushing the limits."
Things look even gloomier for formal men's and womenswear at the higher end, where sales plunged by half compared to 2010. The imported cosmetics market also grew a mere 1 percent so far this year compared to 11 percent last year.