South Korean consumption behaviour has been increasingly following the developed economies’ consumption patterns. The consumer in Korea tends to be concerned with brand names and the health attributes of a product, but they also want high level after sales service.
Koreans tend to be tech-savvy typically and research products online, especially through social media, before shopping and enjoy being well informed when purchasing a product. Consumers are becoming less concerned with buying products made in South Korea and are increasingly inclined to purchase non-domestic products, often at much lower prices. In recent years, slow growth and high levels of personal debt have made some South Korean consumers watchful with their spending; however, high-end luxury shoppers are still spending at elevated rates.
South Koreans are now in the brink of materialism and aspire for lifestyles that are being portrayed by the media. They increasingly view money as the representation and sign of success and put greater emphasis on publicly-visible items because of their attached symbolic meanings and values.
Young South Korean consumers purchase apparel and other fashion items in which they can use to express their individuality. They believe that they can express it using foreign brands with scarcity value. Increasingly, South Koreans of all ages and genders view their appearance as something that can be improve. Not being fashionable or not knowing the latest fashion trend is considered negligent, ignorant and tasteless.
The median age of the population is 41.8. Increasingly, middle- and working-class consumers have begun to shop in outlet or discount stores to obtain better value for the money they are spending.
Many South Korean households have a large share of disposable income, and consumers are willing to pay for big-name brands and quality products. Wealthy women have been the traditional core market for luxury brands; however, men are another emerging market segment thanks to pervasive media advertising messages.
Latest fashion trends are very important and taste-makers (pop-stars, celebrities, actors, etc.) have a large influence over consumer preferences. The share of single-person households has increased 500% over the past 30 years and represents the most common type of household (27,2% in 2015). For more detailed updated information on the South Korean consumer profile, you can access to this report by L.E.K. Consulting.