Credit Cards Show How COVID-19 Is Changing Lifestyles

      August 07, 2020 08:41

      The coronavirus epidemic is changing the way Koreans live as more and more of them forgo the pleasures of socializing and stay home.

      KB Kookmin Bank analyzed credit card usage of its 19 million card holders and found that spending surged during the peak pandemic period between March 11 to May 19 on food delivery, streaming services and games.

      The increase was particularly noticeable among the middle-aged, who embraced Netflix and other online services that were formerly the domain of young people. People in their 40s were the biggest spenders on food delivery. Total spending on food-delivery apps increased 77.9 percent on-year, and 118.5 percent among customers in their 40s.

      Spending on Netflix, YouTube and other streaming services among people in their 60s surged an unusual 111.7 percent, followed by a 72.8 percent by those in their 40s and 72 percent in their 50s.

      The broader leisure industry's earnings plummeted due to the lockdown, but establishments where some social distancing is possible such as golf courses and bowling alleys either suffered milder declines or even benefited. Spending in such places edged down 1.2 percent from Feb. 12 to March 10, when the epidemic struck, but then rose 3.8 percent from March 11 to April 21 and 9.1 percent from April 22 to May 19, when the average daily number of infections fell below 10.

      But over the same period, customers at amusement parks and movie theaters plummeted 40 to 90 percent. While restaurants and bars shut down everywhere, delivery businesses supplying ingredients for home cooks or ready meals flourished. Spending grew substantially at grocery shops, online shopping malls and drive-through restaurants.

      Commuting hours also changed as more and more people went to work and left their offices during off-hours to avoid the rush hour crunch or worked from home. Spending on subway tickets by people in their 30s to 50s showed that fewer traveled between 8:30 a.m. and 8:50 a.m. but more from 7:00 a.m. to 7:59 a.m.

      Crammers and other offline education businesses languished, but spending on online lessons grew explosively.

      Researchers at the bank said that the epidemic totally changed people's lifestyles and there will be no return to the old normal.

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