October 05, 2018 12:09
Purchases made online or those via mobile devices are increasing rapidly.
Online transactions rose 19.6 percent to W9.06 trillion in August from W7.57 trillion in the same month last year, Statistics Korea said on Thursday (US$1=W1,130).
Monthly transactions exceeded W9 trillion for the first time in March and remained at a similar level since then. They typically stood at around W6 trillion to W7 trillion until two years ago.
The surge in online shopping in July and August was largely attributed to the record heat during the summer. As more people ordered food at home rather than eating out amid the soaring temperatures, food purchases rose 82.5 percent on-year in August. Due to strong demand for cooling fans and air conditioners, sales of home appliances also increased 29.1 percent.
Notably, mobile transactions amounted to W5.72 trillion in August, accounting for a record 63.2 percent of the total transactions.
Market watchers warn that a steep rise in online shopping would threaten small businesses who are already feeling the pinch due to the drastic minimum wage hike. "As online shopping is more convenient, a growing number of shoppers will spend less and less at offline stores," said Prof. Kim Dae-jong at Sejong University.
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