Big data shows a very frugal 2016 Christmas

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Big data shows a very frugal 2016 Christmas


Usually spending goes up at the end of the year thanks to the festive holiday mood and endless year-end parties among friends and coworkers.

But this year, consumption patterns have changed on the back of an anti-graft law that kicked in at the end of September, a fragile economy and ongoing political unrest caused by the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

According to a big data analysis by BC Card of credit card spending between Nov. 21 and Dec. 20, spending in venues selling alcohol like bars fell 8.6 percent.

It wasn’t just individuals tightening their belts. Spending at business-related gatherings including dinners and drinks with coworkers has shrunk since the anti-graft law started.

Individual credit card spending was down 9.1 percent when compared to the same period a year ago. Corporate credit card spending shrunk 7.3 percent.

The more expensive the restaurant, the sharper the fall.

High-end Korean restaurants saw credit card spending fall 17.9 percent while restaurants specializing in Korean beef ribs saw credit card spending shrink 14 percent. Credit card spending at sushi restaurants was down 4.7 percent. Spending at Chinese restaurants, which is relatively cheaper, went up 4.9 percent.

The study showed that unlike in the past, when people stayed up late going from one bar to another, people were choosing to go home much earlier this year.

According to BC Card, this year, spending at 9 p.m. accounted for 56.9 percent of the credit card charges made between 7 p.m. and 12 a.m. That’s 1.1 percentage point up from last year’ 55.8 percent.

In 2014 spending at 9 p.m. accounted for less at 53.9 percent, which indicates that people stayed out later.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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