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How South Koreans Shop Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

How South Koreans Shop Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

South Korea has recently experienced a surge in the number of coronavirus cases. It records an alarming rate of more than 500 patients per day. This is the highest since March 6 when the country keeps the COVID-19 cases well under control. It has since raised the social distancing in many cities of South Korea to Level 2.

coronavirus afp styleupk

Photo credits: AFP

The huge increase in the number of corona patients have left the Government struggling to provide sufficient beds for the new cases. 

In midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic, you might be wondering, how do South Koreans dine and shop?

Level 2 Social Distancing in Korea

south korea coronavirus styleupk
Due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, many cities in Korea has raised their social distancing policy to Level 2. This includes Seoul.

This new policy took effect from November 24 2020, and will last for a period of 2 weeks.

As such, cafes can only do takeaways and restaurants and shopping malls have to close earlier at 9pm.

How Coronavirus Affects Shopping in Korea

The 2020 Pandemic has caused several interesting changes in how people shop and dine in Korea.

Due to tighter restrictions and health concerns, many people are preferring to shop online instead. As such, it sees a huge increase in the number of new online ecommerce stores. In fact, online retailers' sales record a 17.5% increase compared to the same period last year! The Korean ecommerce industry is now 165 trillion won, which is almost 25% more than the last few years.

The local delivery service in the country also increased by a whopping 90% amidst the coronavirus. 

New Shopping Trends of Koreans During Pandemic

Groceries and hygienic products including sanitizers and masks are the online bestsellers. There is also an increase in the sales of home appliances, books, etc., as more people stay at home due to the spread of COVID-19.

How Grocery Shopping Changed in South Korea

Although grocery shops are essential service and the Korean supermarkets and traditional markets still operate as per usual, they experience a decrease in sales as people prefer to stay at home.

Coupang Rocket Ensures Fast Necessity Delivery

coupang morning delivery

Fast shipping services like the Coupang Rocket and Coupang Early Morning Delivery are gaining much popularity as it ensures shipment by the next day. There are more people trying out this service in order to get the much needed snacks, food supplies and necessities from this reputable online platform.

Rise and Shine to Market Kurly Delivery

market kurly morning delivery

Market Kurly is one of the grocery delivery company that is doing extremely well during the coronavirus period. Their well supported logistics system ensure delivery of groceries by next morning 7am for orders placed by 11pm the previous day. 

Increase in Proxy Grocery Shopping 

There is also an increase in proxy grocery shopping as younger Koreans shop for groceries online for their parents. Homeplus Korea sees 13% increase in updates to delivery addresses changes, which reached a whopping 58% when Korea was in a critical stage from 24 Feb. to 1 March. 

Comfort is the Fashion Style in 2020

adlv big donut boy tshirt styleupk

ADLV Big Face Donut Boy Oversized T-shirt, retailing at SGD 70 at StyleupK.

As more people stay at home, the keyword for the fashion section this year has changed to comfort. Musinsa, the top Korean online fashion platform sees the sales of comfortable and practical tops and bottoms increased by almost 200 and 500%. 

Maintain Health Through Exercise

donkie bucket bag white brenda styleupk

Photo credits: @ontaechan carrying Donkie Korea Almond White Bucket Bag, retailing at SGD 75 at StyleupK

There is also a increasing trend of buying leggings and other sports clothing.
Another remarkable increase can be seen in the bags section, where mini bags and cross body bags became a popular item. It is because while exercising or walking, people can put their masks and other belongings in it.

Mask As A Fashion Statement

fashion mask

Photo credits: Chuu

But, the most significant increase is definitely the sale of masks. People are buying more masks not only to protect themselves from the virus, it has also become the fashion statement of 2020.

Boom in Shopping Mall Traffic

starfield mall

Photo credits: Starfield Mall

According to T-Map, Incheon airport used to be the number one destination during holiday seasons in Korea. However, shopping malls like Starfield in Hanam, Shinsegae Simon premium outlet in Yeoju and Hyundai Premium outlet in Gimpo topped the list this year.

Koreans are turning to shopping malls, departmental stores and premium outlets as an alternative.

Large Shopping Malls Continue to Open

On November 6, Hyundai Department store opened a new premium outlet called Space One in Namyangju, Gyeonggi. It is the biggest premium outlet that Hyundai operates.

Not only that, Starfield Anseong also opened on October 7 2020 in the South of Gyeonggi. It becomes the largest mall with entertainment, fashion, and dining in Korea.  


South Korea might have been hit by the Coronavirus strongly, but this technology savvy country sees unique trends in shopping this year. Instead, there is a huge increase in online shopping. 

Continue to Shop for Korean Fashion at StyleupK. We ship international amid the coronavirus pandemic.


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