Wedding Halls Dwindle and Pet Shops Proliferate

  • By Kum Won-sub, Choi Jong-seok

    December 09, 2017 08:59

    The number of health and fitness facilities and pet shops is on the rise even as wedding halls dwindle to cater for an aging society with proliferating singles and declining marriages.

    The number of ping pong and badminton courts, hypogastric breathing classes, equestrian parks and other sports facilities for a mature clientele has increased 140 percent over the last three years.

    The National Tax Service released a report on the top 100 types of businesses which clearly shows a shift from a youth- and group oriented society toward an older and more ego-centered one. The NTS looked into 100 industries.

    As of September of last year, 2.22 million businesses were registered in the top 100 industries, up 11 percent from 2014. The number of registered businesses that increase at a faster clip than average suggests that demand is rising, while a number of registered businesses that decrease at a faster clip than average suggests that it is waning.

    At the top in terms of popularity were sports facilities. An NTS official said, "As life expectancy rises, we see a growing interest in health and fitness, and related businesses are clearly on the rise."

    The low birthrate and declining marriages have resulted in related businesses taking a hit. Matchmaking services and wedding halls dwindled nine and 11 percent, and obstetrics and gynecology clinics four percent. Obstetrics and gynecology clinics were the only types of hospitals or clinics whose numbers declined.

    Small B&Bs and guest houses proliferated by 89 percent as they are among the small businesses retirees often open and because travelers now prefer a smaller, more individual setup. The number of motels and inns fell apace, at five percent.

    Other businesses were affected by the increasing usage of IT devices. The number of online retailers grew 46 percent over the last three years while offline stores selling home appliances declined three percent. Similarly, the number of indoor driving ranges surged 49 percent while outdoor ones dwindled 24 percent.

    Modern life also means that mental health clinics increased 17 percent, the steepest growth among 13 types of primary medical care and 2.5 times higher than the growth in the total number of hospitals and clinics (seven percent).

    As more and more Koreans drink coffee, the number of coffee shops surge 73 percent, while a decline in enforced binge drinking of office parties has reduced the number of bars and beer pubs by 16 percent and 10 percent.

    Korea's proliferating singles console themselves with pets. The number of pet shops surged 80 percent over the last three years, ranking third among the 100 types of businesses in terms of growth. Veterinary clinics increased 14 percent. The number of convenience stores and fast food restaurants, which cater to hurried singles who eat alone, also surged 37 percent and 24 percent.

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