Coronavirus Produces Some Unexpected Beneficiaries

  • By Lee Ki-hun

    May 22, 2020 11:44

    Some sectors of business have unexpectedly benefited from the coronavirus epidemic, most bizarrely perhaps cosmetic surgery clinics and bicycle makers.

    According to a report by Hana Bank based on analysis of credit card spending on Thursday, the travel industry was hit hardest by the lockdown. Duty-free shops' sales plummeted 88 percent on-year in March, when infections peaked in Korea.

    Travel agencies and airlines also saw sales decline 85 percent and 74 percent. Other victims included music and dance schools (down 67 percent), karaoke rooms (down 50 percent), bars (down 39 percent) beauty salons (down 30 percent).

    Restaurant spending also plunged, but this benefited butchers' shops, whose sales grew 26 percent in March, and grocery stores, with 10 percent. Cash-and-carries' sales rose 20 percent as people dined and drank at home.

    Online retailers were the biggest beneficiaries of the lockdown in the first quarter with sales surging 41 percent. Home shopping channels' sales rose 19 percent.

    But among unexpected beneficiaries were cosmetics surgery clinics (up nine percent) and ophthalmic clinics (up six percent). The researchers speculated that they benefited simply because people had more time on their hands and opted for non-essential treatments they might otherwise have put off.

    And as fears of infection on public transportation increased, bicycle sales surged 69 percent on-year in March.

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