Korean consumers not as sanguine as Europeans

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Korean consumers not as sanguine as Europeans

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Korean consumers gave good grades to local industries, especially local automobiles and appliances. But they were less satisfied than their counterparts in Europe.

According to the Consumer Market Performance Index (CMPI) released by the Korea Consumer Agency (KCA), Korean’s overall satisfaction with local goods and services was 63.

The index, in which 5,500 consumers directly assessed 10 markets for the first time, was based on the Consumer Markets Scoreboard (CMS) of the European Union.

The consumer market assessment selected the top 10 markets in terms of the proportion of consumer spending relative to earnings. It used household survey data by Statistics Korea, focused on these 10 markets: automobiles, mobile phone services, life insurance, home appliances, real estate brokerage services, clothing, food services, meat, medicine and travel services.

There are seven criteria in the assessment, including how easily consumers are able to compare products and services in the market, how often they experience problems with products and services and complain about them, how much they trust the businesses and how often they experience safety issues regarding the products or services.

The average 63 points of the 10 major consumer markets is 14.5 points lower than 77.5 score among 51 markets in the EU. It is 12.6 points lower than the index for 10 similar markets in the EU.

Among the 10 markets, the CMPI score was the highest in the Korean automotive market with 69.8 followed by 69.2 points for home electronics and 63 points for life insurance services.

The score for the Chinese medicine market was the lowest with 54.6 points.

The score for mobile phone services, where consumer complaints are frequently reported, was also relatively lower at 60.3 points.

When looking at the scores by each market, the Chinese medicine showed the lowest score - 31.4 points - for how easily consumers can compare products and services.

Consumers had difficulties in comparing products and services also in real estate brokerage services (50.9 points), followed by life insurance (51.8 points) and meat (52 points).

For the reliability criteria, Chinese medicine was once again rated the lowest (44.6 points), followed by restaurant services (48.9 points) and mobile phone services (49 points).

It was found in those markets that consumer confidence in the operators’ compliance with laws and regulations was low.

For consumer problems and complaints, the mobile phone services and clothing markets were rated the lowest.

“The CMPI survey results are meaningful in that it evaluated the proper function of the market directly from consumers’ point of view,” said a researcher at the KCA.

“In addition, the survey results also provide a basis for establishing policies to help markets with less efficiency function more smoothly.”

BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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