Online parties are a good market for retailers and brewers
Yang Young-seon, a 35-year-old woman who lives in Guro District, western Seoul, recently had a year-end party with middle school friends via a group video call on Zoom. As their plan for an overseas trip had been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, they gathered online instead and spent time drinking and eating for over two hours.
“When we used to have parties at restaurants or cafes, it was always very difficult to set a time at which all eight people were available. However, planning an online party was very easy compared to that,” Yang said. “It was more fun than we expected. We are planning to have another online party for the upcoming New Year’s Day season.”
For people who wish to enjoy a year-end party with a group while staying at home, parties online have become good alternatives. To have an online gathering, people individually prepare their own beverages and food, sit down in front of their computer monitors and connect to group video platforms such as Zoom or Skype. Facing each other online, they drink while talking to their friends.
A man living in Suwon, Gyeonggi, had an online year-end party with his four other friends last Friday. As soon as his scheduled year-end party got canceled due to the virus pandemic, one of his friends suggested a party through Zoom.
He said he first had doubts because he didn't think that it would work well. However, the online year-end party actually went well, and all of his friends were satisfied with it. The gathering, which started at around 8 p.m. in the evening, lasted until 4 a.m. in the next morning.
“We had fun just as if we were at the bars,” he said. “If we were at a bar, we would’ve had to leave at 9 p.m. But the online gathering was very comfortable as we could drink as much as we wanted and didn’t have to care about the closing time of the bar.”
Online parties are free from space and time constraints. The gathering presents a solution for people who are suffering from the so-called corona blues, such as depression and anxiety due to the lack of socialization with others amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Online party-related products have been selling well as a result.
According to Gmarket, an e-commerce operator run by Ebay Korea, sales of webcams Dec. 15 to Dec. 21 spiked 854 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. Sales of one-person tableware sets jumped 700 percent on year, while sales of one-person electric grills increased 207 percent. Sales of PC headsets and microphones soared 99 percent on year.
During the same period, sales of products related to the concept of drinking alone rose 109 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
With the popularity of online drinking parties or the concept of homsul, or drinking at home, beverage companies are scrambling to strengthen their alcohol products targeting people who are planning to hold an online zoom party with their friends at home.
Soju producer Hite Jinro early this month introduced a 160-milliliter (5.4-ounce) paper carton of its Jinro is Back soju — the retro version of Jinro soju — available for business use. The paper carton of the Jinro is Back soju was only available in supermarkets or retailers for individual use. But now restaurant owners are able to sell it as a means of boosting the delivery and takeout market amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Roughly 1 million paper cartons of Jinro is Back soju were sold in about a month since its introduction to the market, according to the soju producer.
Lotte Chilsung Beverage in June launched a 330-milliliter sleek can of its Kloud Draft beer. According to the company, the can has been designed thinner than other beer cans so that people can easily grab it while drinking at home.
Global whiskey brand Johnnie Walker came up with its limited-edition whiskey package in a collaboration with Mnet’s hip-hop audition program “Show Me the Money 9.” The international whiskey producer said it aims to draw attention of young people who enjoy drinking at home or having online drinking parties with friends in the coronavirus era.
BY YOO JI-YOEN, CHEA SARAH [email@example.com]