Retail sales growth driven by online in South Korea

Jiong-Jiong Yu
Senior Retail Analyst

Date : 06 July 2020

The data released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy showed that the country’s retail sales were up by 2% YoY (year-on-year), driven by increased online sales of sanitary items and food products in the face of coronavirus.

Growth driven by online sales

Total retail sales reached US$9.65 bn in May, up from US$9.5 bn the previous year. Online was the key growth driver, with sales up by 13.5%YoY. In particular, online food sales were up significantly by 39%YoY.

Physical stores saw sales decline

During the same period, sales from supermarkets declined by 9.7%YoY as shoppers continue purchasing daily necessities online.

Convenience stores outperformed large format stores slightly with sales up by 0.8%YoY, helped by the rising demand for sanitary items.

Fear of another wave of the pandemic

South Korea has reported more than 12,700 COVID-19 cases, with lingering cluster infections from the Seoul metropolitan area sparking concerns over yet another wave of the major pandemic in the country. Local consumers continue to shun offline stores due to fear of catching the virus.



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