Mobile shopping gaining popularity in Korea

2013-10-17 18:15

Mobile shopping gaining popularity

By Rachel Lee

Along with growing smartphone and tablet ownership, the fashion retail landscape has changed over the past few years. Smartphones are now empowering millions of shoppers to make purchases whenever and wherever they want. According to Korea On-Line Shopping Association, the size of the country’s mobile market has increased to around 1.7 trillion won in 2012 from around 10 billion won in 2009. The figure is expected to reach about 3.97 trillion won this year and 7.6 trillion won next year.“The number of people using their smartphones to shop have increased in people of all ages, helping consumers research and compare products in stores as well as online,” said a spokesman at a clothing company that sells their products on Kakao Story.
“People in their teens and 20s in particular make the majority of mobile purchases as they have a higher user rate of smartphones and tablets.”
Newly-introduced mobile platforms like Kakao Style, Qustreet and codibook have suggested a variety of unique fashion tips based on current trends and recommend many different items to attract more consumers.
“I think I and many of my friends are quite active on mobile shopping activities. We check out social commerce applications and other mobile shopping sites on a regular basis and give each other updates on new and interesting items. Even at home, I prefer to use my smartphone to shop most of the time rather than on my laptop,” said Kim Ji-young, a 27-year-old office worker living in Seoul. “Recently I bought a cardigan on a mobile shopping store and overall, I am very satisfied with the purchase. I think office workers, especially in their 20s, are interested in mobile shopping for its convenience when they do not have time to visit the stores physically.”
Kakao Story, run by Kakao Group, is the country’s biggest mobile commerce platform.
According to the company, about 280,000 shoppers visit the site on a daily basis and a total of 106 companies are currently selling their products on the platform. The company has adopted portal site Naver’s checkout service, which enables shoppers to make payments with their Naver ID.
Qustreet, which was launched last May, is known to have a new form of mobile platform that combines the concept of offline pop-up stores.
According to the company, the number of visitors has increased by 30-fold in four months since it was launched, and a total of 20 companies have so far worked with the mobile site. Such popular brands as Papercase, Man.G and Vivid Value have seen a steady increase in their sales on the shopping platform.
“Qustreet’s concept of an online pop-up store might sound unfamiliar to the majority of shoppers here, and I was also very unsure about it when I first tried to promote my brand through it, but for some rising designers and companies, it can be one of the most effective and powerful marketing tactics to help build and raise brand awareness,” said a company spokesman of a clothing manufacturer.
Industry insiders, however, say the local mobile market needs time to establish a safe mobile payment system despite dramatic market expansion and the advent of new business models in the country.
“The current mobile system definitely needs improvement including security issues in order to encourage more mobile activities and transactions among consumers. Even the biggest mobile shopping app Kakao Story does not have a stable method of payment, which needs to be developed soon,” said a fashion company’s spokesman.

rachel@ktimes.co.kr,

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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