Foreign chocolates more expensive in Korea

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Foreign chocolates more expensive in Korea

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Foreign-made chocolates are up to 43 percent cheaper when purchased directly from an overseas e-commerce site, a survey by the Korea Consumer Agency showed on Friday.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the consumer agency studied six chocolate gift sets from well-known global brands, and found they were between 3.9 percent and 43 percent cheaper on foreign sites than in Korean shops, even when shipping fees are included.

The survey supposed that a consumer would buy multiple packages directly from foreign online malls, but would spend less than the duty-free limit of $150, which does not take into account shipping fees.

See’s Candy Toffee-ettes were the cheapest when bought from a foreign online shop. Seven boxes of the American product are typically 195,571 won ($162) when purchased from a U.S.-based online mall, including shipping costs, which is still roughly 43 percent cheaper than what the same boxes would go for in Korea.

Royce’ Nama Chocolate Mild Cacao, a popular item by the Japanese chocolatier, costs 232,883 won, including shipping, for 21 boxes on Japanese e-commerce websites. That is 38.4 percent lower than the price for the same quantity bought in Korea, where it would cost 378,000 won.

Two boxes of Godiva’s Signature Truffles Collection cost 144,054 won on British online shopping malls, including shipping, which is 26.5 percent cheaper than if bought in Korea.

Three boxes of Leonidas Gold Metal chocolates were 22 percent cheaper when bought on American online malls. The same quantity of the Laderach Collection and four boxes of Michel Cluizel Les Premier Cru De Plantation chocolates was 8.7 percent and 3.9 percent cheaper, respectively.

Of the six brands surveyed, four brands - Leonidas, Laderach, Michel Cluizel and Royce’ - were more expensive via online direct purchase if a consumer was just buying a single box of chocolates because of shipping fees. But a single box of See’s Candy and Godiva chocolates was still cheaper bought online, even if shipping fees are included.

A representative from the Korea Consumer Agency warned that “consumers should ensure their product’s price is under the tariff-free limit of $150” to benefit from the frugal choice.


BY KIM JI-YOON [kim.jiyoon@joongang.co.kr]

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