Retail sales up 4.7% in Feb. on online consumption growth amid pandemic

  • Mar 31, 2022
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Retail sales in South Korea rose 4.7 percent in February from a year earlier on the back of growing online consumption amid the worst COVID-19 wave, the industry ministry said Tuesday.

The combined sales of 25 major offline and online retailers reached 12.19 trillion won ($9.99 billion) last month, up from 11.6 trillion won a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The increased retail sales are mainly attributable to the growth in online consumption as the country experienced the worst wave of the COVID-19 pandemic over the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant across the country.

Sales from online platforms spiked 14.2 percent in February from a year earlier, while offline stores saw their sales fall 3.8 percent on-year, according to the data.

Online platforms accounted for 51.3 percent of the total sales last month, up from 47.1 percent a year earlier, the data showed.

Among offline retailers, department stores saw their sales advance 9.3 percent on rising demand for luxury goods.

Sales of convenience stores also increased 7.4 percent on the back of strong demand for smaller packages of food and new items.

But sales of discount chain stores, such as E-mart and Lotte Mart, tumbled 24.0 percent, and smaller supermarkets saw their sales decrease 8.4 percent on-year, according to the ministry.

On online platforms, sales of the service sector jumped 26.8 percent, mainly on the back of the popularity of food delivery services, followed by consumer electronics and cultural goods rising 15.7 percent, the data showed.