S. Korea's total credit card transaction reaches record high during pandemic

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : March 17, 2021, 11:24 | Updated : March 17, 2021, 12:35

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- Money spent via online credit card transactions in South Korea rose 25 percent from a year ago to hit a record high of 116.3 trillion won ($102.7 billion) in 2020 thanks to a surge in home shoppers who have been grounded by a COVID-19 pandemic. According to the  Bank of Korea, a large share of non-face-to-face transactions was made through ecommerce platforms such as online shopping malls.

Data released by the Korea Information Society Development Institute (KISDI), a state information policy institute, showed that 51.2 percent of South Korea's home shopping-related transactions were made via digital home shopping services in the fourth quarter of 2020. Consumers favored convenient online shopping over other non-face-to-face shopping methods such as conventional TV home shopping.

The pandemic created a new market for "live commerce," a new digital home shopping genre that is broadcast live using online and mobile shopping infrastructure, in South Korea with some 50 million smartphones hooked onto 4G and 5G mobile data networks. Live commerce show operators differentiated services from old TV-based home shopping channels by interacting with consumers. Show hosts and guests react to comments and messages submitted by customers in real-time. 

Two top web service companies, Naver and Kakao, gained the attention of live commerce customers in 2020. Other companies such as Lotte and Coupang also launched live commerce services targeting non-face-to-face shopaholics. "We need to focus on how the sales structure of home shopping companies have changed due to the dispersion of online and mobile non-face-to-face spending patterns because of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020," said KISDI.
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