Koreans have set a new record in cross-border eCommerce in the lead-up to Chuseok.
The number of direct overseas purchases has been increasing every year, and for the first time last year, reached 1 trillion won.
The trend continues as the number of people directly buying their holiday gifts for Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) from overseas websites is increasing.
According to Gmarket, an online shopping mall, sales of foreign products over the past two weeks (August 26 to September 8) showed a 30 per cent increase compared to the holiday season before Chuseok last year (August 7 to 20).
The items that showed the biggest increases in sales over the past two weeks were hand and foot care products, which jumped almost eight times compared to last year, and showed a 95 per cent increase compared to last month. Gift sets from foreign brands were popular. Hair products and cosmetics also showed a sharp increase.
Interior goods were also popular as special holiday gifts, increasing the sales of direct overseas purchases 183 per cent compared to last year, and 16 per cent compared to the previous month. Sales of aroma candles (50 per cent) and diffusers (38 per cent) also soared.
As well, the demand for kitchen goods is also growing as Chuseok approaches. Airtight containers (331 per cent increase), coffee goods (175 per cent increase) and cutting tools (150 per cent increase) are some products that showed growth in sales.
However, as buying direct overseas has settled as a new consumption pattern, consumer complaints are also increasing.
According to the Korea Consumer Agency, 3412 complaints regarding overseas purchases were filed during the first half of this year. The numbers were 2.7 times higher compared to the number of complaints last year.
As the number of individuals who purchase goods directly overseas increases, measures should be taken to protect consumers from fraud and inconvenience.