Air purifier sales up 414 % on yearAs fine dust blows into Korea, demand for products that defend against pollution spike.
According to an Emart study released Friday, mask sales between Jan. 10 and Jan. 16 surged 458 percent from the same period a year earlier while the sales of air purifiers are up 414 percent.
Usually, the products are in high demand around late February and in March, when the yellow dust from the northern deserts descend on the Korean Peninsula. But sales this year are already 95 percent of the total usually reported in March.
Sales of consumer appliances that clean clothing, such as LG’s Styler clothes closest, are up 186 percent compared to the same period a year ago, according to the retailer. Sales of dryers have increased 67 percent as the worsening pollution has made it difficult to dry laundry outdoors.
Emart said it will be holding a special sale on fine-dust countering goods through Jan. 30.
It plans to offer discounts on the bulk purchase of masks: 10 percent when buying two and 30 percent when buying three at a time.
The Samsung Electronics air purifier with model number AX6ON5081 WDD will be sold at 379,000 won ($338), a 90,000 won discount, while Coway’s AP-1818C model will be sold at 439,000 won, a 60,000 won discount. The purchase of Coway’s air purifier also comes with 85,000 won worth of additional filters and 50,000 won in gift certificates.
The retailer is also providing discounts on vacuum cleaners, including Dyson’s V10 Fluffy, the LG Electronics A9, which also has a mopping feature, Samsung’s VS8ON8062KKS and Tepal’s Air Force 360.
Online shopping malls are ramping up their marketing of fine dust-related products. Coupang has been promoting 650,000 fine-dust products since Jan. 10.
An exclusive study by the JoongAng Ilbo found that much of the recent air pollution is coming from China.
The Korean Meteorological Administration is forecasting a return of high fine-dust readings. It said the level of concentration of pollutants started rising on Friday and will continue to increase today.
When the concentration is at 15 micrograms per square meter or lower, the government rates the air quality as “good.” When it is between 16 and 35, it is deemed “normal.” When the figure is between 36 and 75, the government rates the air quality as “bad.”
On Jan. 14, the fine-dust concentrations in the greater Seoul area peaked at 122 micrograms per square meter, the highest level since related data was first collected in 2015.
That was two days after air pollution in major areas in China, including Beijing, Tianjin, Tangshan and Hubei Province, peaked.
The Korean Meteorological Administration forecasts air pollution levels dropping from Sunday afternoon.
Kweather, a private weather company, has advised people to stay indoors over the weekend and wear a protective mask when having to go outside.
by JEON YOUNG-SUN, LEE HO-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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