December 28, 2023 08:30
Almost half of Korea's luxury label addicts are now under 40, suggesting an alarming trend toward conspicuous consumption among younger people.
Traditionally it has been older Koreans who indulged their taste in luxury brands once they made their fortune, but now customers in their 20s outnumber those in their 50s and 60s.
One out of every five customers earns less than W30 million a year, so even low-income earners have developed a taste for overpriced bling (US$1=W1,294).
Pollster Lime surveyed 7,000 people aged 20 to 69 this summer and found that 24 percent of luxury product purchasers in Korea are in their 40s, accounting for the biggest proportion, followed by those in their 30s (22 percent), 20s (21 percent), 50s (18 percent) and 60s (12 percent).
Some 22 percent of customers in their 20s said they earn less than W30 million a year, and 77.9 percent make less than W50 million.
Younger buyers tended to buy smaller affordable items but typically own several labels that they can show off, spending on average W3.85 million compared to W5.75 million for customers in their 60s.
Young people also buy labels through social media, while buyers in their 40s often use online shopping malls like Coupang or Gmarket, and older customers shop in superstores or malls.
But soaring inflation is sapping momentum. Some 88.7 percent of respondents said they tend to compare prices now and avoid impulse purchases. Some 46 percent mainly go by price, 36.6 percent look at practicality, 35.9 percent prioritize material and quality, and only 27.1 percent go by brand alone.
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