Online shopping

Online shopping hits a record high in November.

Online shopping hits a record high in November.

Retail sales in South Korea (Yonhap)

South Korea’s online shopping hit a new high in November, data showed on Tuesday, in the latest sign that growing numbers of people are using computers and mobile devices to buy things ranging from clothes to products. electronics amid the protracted COVID-19 pandemic.

The value of online shopping transactions stood at 17.5 trillion won ($14.7 billion) in November, up 16.5 percent from a year earlier, according to data from Statistics Korea.

The November data marked the highest level since the statistics agency began compiling related data in 2001.

The value of online shopping surpassed the 17 trillion won mark for the first time in November.

The agency said people had increased online shopping for food delivery services, groceries, travel services and household items amid the economic recovery and the fight against viruses.

South Korea eased virus restrictions in November under the “living with COVID-19” program intended to gradually return to normal pre-pandemic life. The government has also resumed voucher programs for meals, travel and accommodation to stimulate private spending.

In November, the country held an annual national shopping festival, called Korea Sale FESTA, in which more than 2,000 retailers offered great deals online and in stores.

Purchases made through smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices rose 22.9 percent year-on-year to 12.5 trillion won. Mobile purchases accounted for 71.6% of the total value of online purchases.

Online transactions for food delivery services rose 26.1 percent year on year to 2.07 trillion won, and those for food and beverages rose 18.5 percent to 2.09 trillion won.

Online purchases of travel-related services jumped 46.6 percent year-on-year to 1.02 trillion won. Those of household items rose 22.9% to 1.54 trillion won.

South Korea is one of the most connected countries in the world, with one of the highest smartphone penetration rates. (Yonhap)