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Three Key Words of This Year’s Consumption Pattern: Hopes, Well-being and Practicality

Three Key Words of This Year’s Consumption Pattern: Hopes, Well-being and Practicality

Posted December. 08, 2005 02:59,   


Products Delivering “Fun and Hope” are Successful-

With economic recession and the uncertainties of the future, consumers need consolation more than ever.

“My Lovely Sam-soon,” one of the most popular TV dramas of this year, includes a chubby woman as a main character, giving many women consolation and courage.

“Fun” is the sales code of “Phone and Fun” outlets of LG Telecom. Unlike conventional outlets, “Phone and Fun” offers games and music through mobile phones on display.

Large stores offering consumers experience opportunities, including GS-Watsons, are increasing based on a strategy of stimulating desire to buy their products using a theme of “fun” as its code.

Electronics that Combine Fun and Emotion are Also Popular-

Mp3 players “iPod” and “iRiver” U10, and the “slim phone” among cell phones are attracting consumers. Even in the case of the washing machine, the “color washing machine” sells better, making the term “white electronics” a thing of the past.

“Red Mango,” an ice cream chain, is offering the fun of making one’s own ice cream by having consumers decide their own toppings.

Yeo Jun-sang, researcher of LG Economic Research Institute, said, “It’s been a year of yearning for ‘consolation’ in the shadow of economic recession.”

Well-being Became a Life-

Well-being is now being established as a life and culture. Sales of instant noodles at the discounter “E-Mart” shrank 12 percent in the first 11 months of this year compared with the same period last year. Instant noodle sales have not dropped like this since 1998.

An official of E-Mart said, “It seems that instant noodle consumption, which could lead to sodium over-consumption, dropped as the ‘well-being’ diet is being established.”

The “well-being” culture which emphasizes health and stability has become the standard in purchasing every kind of product. Among drinks, green tea and bottled water have sold steadily. Vitamin drinks and health supplements also remain popular.

The refrigerator with air purifier has been a hot seller in Techno Mart, an electronics market. Housewives concerned about dust and mites are showing their affection towards the “Han Kyung-hee Steam Cleaner.”

With an increasing number of people worried about their lives after retirement, stock funds, including installment fund, have also been very popular.

Low-price Products or Premium Products-

The Face Shop and Missha, low-price cosmetics companies, have rapidly grown, indicating a practical consumption pattern of taking into consideration the price and quality of goods. With the expanding low-price cosmetics market, the domestic cosmetics market is divided into premium and low-price cosmetics.

In the hotel sector, in which premium hotels who charge 300,000 to 400,000 won a day, medium-and low-price hotels with rates of about 100,000 won a day advanced, showing growth potential.

Amid a continuing oil price hike, more and more consumers are opting for diesel or LPG cars. Credit cards offering oil price discounts have also become popular.

Also, a demand for premium goods has greatly increased. Thanks to a demand for high-priced consumer electronics, including PDP TV, LCD TV and drum-type washing machines, sales of department stores have turned around for the first time in four years, ending the downturn that lasted for three years.

Kim Hae-ryeon, president of IFNetwork, a trend consulting firm, predicted, “Just like this year, the ‘funology’ trend which combines fun and technology appears to have the greatest influence on consumption patterns.”

Jin-Suk Huh jameshuh@donga.com