The Korean E- commerce market is the fourth largest in the world. According to official data from the Korean government the total online transactions during 2020 in the various channels was reached US $144.7 billion, an increase of approx. 20% compared to 2019 where the total volume of transactions reached US $121 billion.
In 2015 we published the "Korea E-commerce Market Review 2015" and found that the total online transactions volume reached in 2014 to US 42 billion. In a six year the Korean e-commerce market grew by 344%.
When examining the volume of transactions per capita (The South Korean population is about 52 million), South Korea is already ranked first in the world with a total of US $2.83 billion transactions per million of population, while UK and the United States are in second and third place respectively.
The Korean e-commerce market includes a wide range of sites and applications that sell products and services, including industrial goods and services that appeal to the business consumers audience. Most of the online transactions are done through marketplaces and not through dedicated brands online store or chain stores online sites. In terms of the trading model, the leading Korean marketplaces operate in the B2C model, which allow business owners to open an online store and sell directly to the consumer.
The Korean consumer is not considered as a picky consumer and is heavily influenced by direct and indirect marketing activities. In this context, brands and companies that consistently invest in advertising in the various channels succeed in retaining and even increasing the customer base. The price of the product or service is not the main factor for the Korean consumer and he/she will prefer to purchase from a seller who will provide him/her with the best buying experiences, even if it more expensive in price.
According to official data from 2020, the Korean consumer purchases online mainly (in descending order) various services, fashion products, electrical and electronic products, household products, food products and cosmetics. 70% of all online e-commerce transactions were made through the mobile device.
Under the Korean law, a transaction for good or service made online can be canceled within 7 days for any reason. The cancellation can be requested during the first 3 months after the date of purchase, if the product received does not match its description, its advertising or the original terms of sale.
South Korea is one of the few countries in the world that enjoys an advanced and inexpensive logistics infrastructure that supports nationwide delivery system, including the last mile with full support for reaching the final destination - the consumer. According to few industry sources, one of the main reasons for the absence of Amazon from the Korean market is the fact that it could not offer a unique added value to the Korean consumer in the logistical and shipping field.