November 22, 2018 12:22
Young women have emerged as a new group of big spenders in high-end camera market, which had traditionally been dominated by middle-aged male hobby or professional photographers.
But the new consumers are not aiming for perfection in taking pictures of birds or historic sights but are obsessive K-pop fans who want vivid pictures of their stars in concert and at other events and are particularly keen on super telephoto lenses.
According to Canon Korea, 71 percent of customers who bought high-end telephoto lenses in 2015 were men, but last year 67 percent were women.
A camera set with a high-end telephoto lens usually costs around W4-5 million, a steep price tag for any young fan (US$1=W1,130). That means camera rental businesses are also thriving. Many young women come in a large number on the days of concerts by K-pop stars and hire these cameras for W70,000 to W80,000 a day.
Won Ki-bong, who runs a camera equipment hire shop in Seoul, said, "From Thursdays to Sundays, many women in their teens and 20s and K-pop fans from abroad come and rent really expensive cameras and telephoto lenses. Three or four years ago I'd never thought this would happen. About 30 to 40 percent of my customers are K-pop fans now."
Most do it for personal enjoyment and sharing on social media, but some do it for profit by making products like photo books or T-shirts.
A 24-year-old university student who is an ardent fan of boy band Wanna One, said, "Some fans became famous amongst other fans because they take great pictures. They make well over W5 million a month from hosting adverts on their social media or YouTube sites."
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