Holiday gift sales buoyant

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Holiday gift sales buoyant

Mrs. Kim, a 31-year-old homemaker, gave serious thought to the presents she would buy her parents and parents-in-law for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.

After crossing out several ideas on her list, she decided to go with a box of fresh fruit for her parents, hanwoo (Korean beef) for her in-laws and cash for both.

“Fresh seafood was also on my list, but I scratched it off because of concerns over radiation,” Kim said. When asked if spending on gifts was a burden, she said not as much as a year ago.

Kim isn’t alone in feeling generous.

According to a study by Lotte Mart on consumer spending on holiday gift sets from Jan. 11 to 20, sales increased 50 percent compared to last year’s sales from Jan. 21 to 30, the days before the holiday.

The retailer attributed the sales jump to consumers buying more expensive gifts than in 2013 and purchasing more items quantity-wise.

The analysis showed that the average unit cost of a gift set this year was 24,060 won ($22.54), 6.3 percent higher than last year’s average of 22,640 won.

The number of individual gift items sold also rose 7.7 percent over the same period last year.

Lotte Mart said 47.1 percent of their hanwoo sets last year had price tags between 100,000 won and 200,000 won.

This year, that price range only accounted for 37.8 percent of sales. Instead, hanwoo gift sets priced 200,000 won or higher accounted for 25.3 percent of sales, up from 9 percent last year.

Last year, sets priced less than 30,000 won accounted for 63.6 percent of total sales of Lunar New Year gift items. This year, sales of products in that range fell to 26.8 percent of the total.

Meanwhile, gift sets priced between 50,000 won and 70,000 won were more popular this year.

“We hope the increase in spending on gift sets this holiday is a signal of economic recovery in general,” said Jung Jae-woo, head of marketing strategy at Lotte Mart, a subsidiary of Lotte Shopping.

E-Mart, a discount chain of Shinsegae Group, conducted a study that also showed that consumers this year are spending more on gift sets.

The retailer analyzed spending patterns of consumers on holiday gift sets from Jan. 16 to 20. Based on the analysis, it said sales jumped 14.7 percent compared to the previous year.

“Sales of gift sets priced below 30,000 won increased 35 percent this year over the same period while at the same time, sales of more premium gift sets priced above 200,000 won surged 62.2 percent,” said an E-Mart official.

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