November 30, 2019 08:22
The market for housekeeping services from cleaning to cooking and childcare is growing quickly as more Koreans shun house chores and lean on convenience despite the economic downturn.
Hyundai Card analyzed credit-card transactions at 20 companies offering such services from January of 2017 until October this year and found that spending more than tripled from just 6,690 transactions in 2017 to 190,042 this year. Over the same period, the amount spent from W1.98 billion to W6.21 billion (US$1=W1,180). That suggests a growing number of people are paying for chores they would have taken care of themselves in the past.
One single woman in her 40s often uses a smartphone app to hire a house cleaner. "A W50,000 price tag for a single visit might be expensive to some people, but I think it's worth it considering the amount of time and effort I would have to exert," she said.
There is also a noticeable increase in demand for cooking and childcare services. Transactions for cooking services surged 9.8 times from W99.7 million in 2017 to W980 million this year. When it comes to childcare services, the number of transactions has grown 27 times over the period.
Customers in their 30s accounted for 50 percent of transactions, followed by those in their 40s (28 percent), 20s (9.9 percent) and 50s (9.8 percent), while 2.3 percent were in their 60s. Surprisingly, the age group with the sharpest increase were those in their 50s. They were particularly interested in cooking services.
A Hyundai Card staffer said, "We've seen a growing tendency of consumers in their 50s buying side dishes instead of cooking them themselves."
Changing attitudes toward housework were the main reason. In another survey Hyundai Card last month polled 1,000 people over 20 who used housekeeping services and found that 72.9 percent viewed childcare and housekeeping work as onerous, while 21.4 percent were neutral and only 5.7 percent said such chores were no problem.
When asked why they considered housekeeping work as onerous, 69.2 percent said because it takes too much physical energy, while 58 percent said it takes too much time and 48 percent said it is stressful. Respondents were allowed to give multiple answers.
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