South Korean Shoppers Set Mobile Spending Record With Sales Rising Nearly 30%


Newly released government data shows that South Korean shoppers smashed previous records for purchases made through mobile devices.

According to the report, mobile transactions through smartphones and tablets hit US$3.5 billion in August, up 29.5 per cent from a year earlier. For the recording period mobile sales accounted for 61.9 percent of all online purchases made.

MORE: South Korea Dominates the Rest of the World in FMCG E-Commerce


The data showed that food delivery services increased 38.2 percent while sales of electronic goods rose 18.3 percent from the previous year.

Other noted jumps in the recent report were Mobile bookings for travel and movie tickets, which surged 35.5 percent and cosmetics which rose 20.7 percent

South Korea far and away leads the world in e-commerce purchasing. In the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) segment, shopping done via E-Commerce is a hefty 16.6%. In comparison, the United States is only 1.4% and, globally, e-commerce still accounts for a paltry 4.4% of FMCG sales according to research by Kantar.

The fact that Koreans buy so much on their phones comes as no surprise. According to the Pew Research Center, 88% of South Koreans use a smartphone, far ahead of second-placed Australia with 77% penetration, followed by Israel at 74% and the U.S. with 72%.


Even more telling from the Pew numbers is the demographic breakdown. Smartphone penetration for Koreans ages 18 and 34 is 100%. Yes, you read that right —complete saturation.



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