Time-killing products in demand as crisis wears on

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Time-killing products in demand as crisis wears on


From left: Football star Son Heung-min works out at home; a screen capture from a video tutorial on dalgona coffee; and home-baked cookies. [SCREEN CAPTURE, SSG.COM]

As Koreans work to ward off cabin fever, the do-it-yourself (DIY) market is enjoying a mini-boom, as are the markets for home cooking items, car repair parts, tools, exercise equipment and redecorating products.

Consumers are willing to spend big bucks to keep themselves sane in self-isolation.

Gmarket says that DIY product sales in March quadrupled over the same period a year earlier. Snack sales have doubled.

Sales of hand mixers increased by 142 percent.

The priority is on killing time, and “room corner challenges” are all the rage online. This includes making dalgona coffee, which is a meringue-inspired concoction that is whipped into shape and requires plenty of time and effort.

Others have amused themselves by making souffle omelets, an ambitious project in the kitchen.

Waffles are also a popular diversion for those homebound during the coronavirus outbreak. At Gmarket, the sales of waffle makers increased by 347 percent on March on year.

Other snack-making machines are also flying off the shelves. The sales of ice cream makers have doubled, and yogurt maker sales are up 25 percent, while the sales of other food-making equipment is up by 128 percent.

Fun and cost-saving

Rethinking living spaces also eats up plenty of lockdown time.

At Gmarket, sales of furniture paint are up 45 percent, while door handle sales have increased 14 percent and decorative panels 11 percent.

Shinsegae Department Store reports that sales of home furnishings were up 6.7 percent on year in the first two weeks of April, compared to a 13 percent drop in all sales overall.

Sales of furniture increased by 59.2 percent, while sales of cutlery were up 15 percent. Luxury plate sales rose 44 percent.

At-home hobbies

Shinhan Card said more people are signing up for online classes for various crafts and hobbies.

According to the card company, the use of seven different online and offline hobby platforms increased by 138 percent compared to March last year.

These online classes are most popular among consumers in their 40s, with more men signing up than woman. Usage increased by 97 percent for men and 86 percent for women in the age group.

Women in their 50s were the No. 2 consumers of hobby tutorials. Their biggest interest was home fitness, as more people in this age group are looking for ways to lose weight gained while in isolation.

According to Class101, a platform for various online lectures, sign-ups for home fitness classes increased by 20 percent.

SSG.com, Shinsegae’s e-commerce brand, said sales of home fitness equipment increased by 35 percent, with steppers, dumbbells, walking machines and stationary bikes in especially high demand.

BY JEON YOUNG-SEON [kang.jaeeun@joongang.co.kr]
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