Online Flea Markets Branch out

      November 13, 2021 08:30

      More and more people in Korea are buying and selling goods on second-hand markets online, not only because they are cheaper but also because they have become almost like social media platforms.

      On Daangn Market, a rapidly rising online flea market rivaling Korea's No. 1 Joonggonara, users access the app 64 times a month on average and stay for around two hours each time. Daangn Marekt has 22 million users and Joonggonara 24.5 million. That means around half of Korea's population use second-hand apps.

      One 23-year-old university student in Songpa, Seoul habitually scrolls the online flea markets before she goes to bed. She does not always have any particular product in mind but simply likes to see what is on offer and buys if she fancies something.

      She also sells her own used possessions. This month she bought some W30,000 hand cream and a W400,000 belt and sold two bottles of perfume she was given as a present (US$1=W1,179). 

      Although exact statistics are unavailable, industry watchers estimated the size of the domestic online flea market at around W20 trillion. They now also sell new and limited-edition products that have resell value. Users range in age from the teens to over 60.

      They offer both affordable and rare products that appeal to young consumers. One 25-year-old office worker said, "I usually buy a product without hesitation if I find an appealing one that fits my taste."

      Kim Jong-sik, another office worker said, "I always search the second-hand sites first before I go to first-hand retailers. Since February of last year, when the coronavirus pandemic started, I've bought all of my jackets, shorts and shoes second-hand online."

      One notable example is movie tickets that are sold half-price by people who have VIP subscriptions and get some free tickets. They cost around W11,000 at the box office but go for W6,500 to W7,000 on second-hand apps.

      One 38-year-old from Cheonan in South Chungcheong Province said, "I simply have to tell the seller the movie I want to watch and the time and I can buy a reservation number. It's now foolish to pay full price for a movie ticket."

      But there are concerns that the trade is not taxed, especially when people start buying and selling jewelry and other expensive products. National Tax Service chief Kim Dae-ji told lawmakers during a recent parliamentary audit that he will come up with concrete tax standards for online flea market transactions. 

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