It's not too early to order Lunar New Year gifts
People are reserving Lunar New Year gift sets earlier than usual as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sales of Lunar New Year presents at Lotte Mart have been buoyant over the past two weeks, with special interest in health products like ginseng.
On Monday, Lotte Mart announced that advance sales of New Year's presents from Dec. 24 through Jan. 7 were 42.6 percent higher than a year earlier.
Demand for health products in general jumped 79 percent, while sales of ginseng-related products skyrocketed 350 percent.
Sales of liquor gift sets rose 85 percent. Gift sets of wine increased 105 percent on year.
Fruits, a perennial favorite gift at Lunar New Year time, also sold well. Fruit gift sets, including apples and prices, saw sales rise 98 percent — the prices of which are relatively high due to a long monsoon season last summer that reduced crops.
According to data provided by the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade, the price of 10 apples was 28,314 won ($25.80) last week, up 53 percent on year, while the price of 10 pears went up 27 percent to 40,102 won.
Lotte Mart is offering discounts on New Year's gift sets through Feb. 1.
“Due to Covid-19, the trends of focusing on health and drinking alcoholic beverages at home alone have affected the types of gift sets offered this year,” said a spokesperson for Lotte Mart.
Shinsegae Department Store has expanded its stocks of wine by 15 percent ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, which run from Feb. 11 to Feb. 14. It is also introducing wine accessories like decanters.
People are reserving gifts early because many have chosen not to visit their parents due to the pandemic. Instead they are sending gifts ahead of the holiday.
According to Hello Nature, BGF Retail’s online grocery platform, reservations for gift sets three to four weeks ahead of the Chuseok harvest holiday last autumn went up by 15 percentage points compared to the previous year. It expects a similar trend this holiday.
Hello Nature advanced the date it started promotions for New Year's gift sets by around 10 days.
It has rolled out 200 products that include Korean beef, coffee, health supplements and popular fruits like shine muscat grapes.
BY JIN MIN-JI [email@example.com]