Sales data show pandemic's impact on house-bound consumers
Mr. Kwon, a 32-year-old office worker who lives in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul, has been busy these days, between work and housework as the Covid-19 pandemic grinds on.
“I used to clean the home once every week,” Kwon said. “But as I only stay at home these days, it makes me want to do chores every day, such as washing the dishes.”
While the prolonged coronavirus forces people to spend more time at home, Koreans are spending more money on purchasing daily necessities, a trend reflected in recent sales data.
According to e-commerce company Gmarket, sales of daily necessities between Jan. 1 and Dec. 20 increased 21 percent compared to the same period a year earlier — the largest on-year growth in the company’s history.
During that period, sales of wet wipes on Gmarket grew 38 percent on year, a more than fourfold increase from the average rate of growth over the past six years, which was 9 percent.
“With more people showing interest in hygiene due to Covid-19, wet wipes, which are useful for cleaning tables and wiping hands, are gaining huge popularity from the public,” said a spokesperson for Gmarket.
Sales of water also soared 27 percent during the same period, while sales of kitchen detergents rose 25 percent on year. Sales of tissues also increased 24 percent on year.
“As I have to cook all three meals a day at home, as well as snacks for our children, the sink is always piled high with dirty dishes,” said Mrs. Kim, 34. “I feel like I used two or three times more kitchen detergent this year compared to last year.”
Kim also added that she recently joined a “No poo” challenge — with the goal of not using shampoo and only rinsing hair with water.
“I really wanted to reduce the use of chemicals for a long time, but never actually got a chance to practice it,” Kim said. “Since I have no other places to go due to the pandemic, these days I only use shampoo once a week. I think it’s been working great. I feel like my hair has become more silky.”
Sales of shampoo and conditioner, meanwhile, declined as people are taking fewer showers as they go out less.
“As I don’t have any plans to go out, I don’t take showers as often as I used to,” Mr. Kwon said.
From Jan. 1 to Dec. 20, sales of shampoo and conditioner on Gmarket declined 2 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.
And with fewer outdoor activities and picnics, sales of disposable tableware dropped 7 percent on year.
“With the resurgence of Covid-19 and strengthened social distancing guidelines, we’ve been seeing a huge increase in sales of daily necessities that are usually used by people at home,” a spokesperson for Gmarket said. “As ‘untact’ is becoming an established norm, more people are purchasing those daily necessities online.”
BY BAE JUNG-WON [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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