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Men Spend More on Grooming, Women on Leisure

Posted March. 05, 2008 07:17,   


A 38-year-old male employee of a construction firm has received moisturizing and whitening treatment at a skin care shop for a year. “Kim” spends around 100,000 won on skincare a month.

“After my wife told me that even men could make a cool impression if they have soft skin texture, I began getting skin care,” he said. “I bought bundles of discount tickets and get skin care once a week.”

The Dong-A Ilbo and the nation’s largest credit card firm BC Card surveyed credit card users on their spending patterns last year for comparison with those of 2005.

The poll found that men in their 20s and 30s who use credit cards are spending more on personal grooming. Women in their 50s and 60s have raised their spending on leisure activities. Purchases of children’s clothing have also soared.

BC Card, a brand shared by 11 banks, saw the number of members reach 23 million last year, up 24.3 percent from 18.5 million in 2005.

○ More spending on male grooming

Credit card spending by BC Card members last year rose 42 percent last year from 2005. Men in their 20s showed the biggest increase by age group and gender in credit card spending with a whopping 193 percent over the two-year period. Spending by women in their 20s increased 123 percent.

Credit card spending at skin care shops by men in their 20s jumped 153 percent last year from 2005, while that by women in the same age range rose 90 percent.

Men in their 30s last year spent 5.5 billion won at skin care shops, trailing the 6.8 billion won spent by women in their 30s.

Men in their 20s spent 147 percent more on cosmetics between 2005 and last year, surpassing the 101-percent spending growth of women in their 20s.

Park Jeong-min, brand manager of men’s skin care products at Amore Pacific, said, “More men are buying high quality products including anti-aging creams exclusively for men as well as toners and moisturizers. More and more men have visited beauty shops to buy their own cosmetics.”

Kim Jeong-hee, a team leader at Samsung Fashion Institute, said, “Young men have recently grown more interested in their appearance, unlike their older counterparts.”

○ Rising popularity of leisure activities

A 59-year-old woman paid ten million won to visit Eastern Europe with her husband last summer. “Lee” also went to Australia with her friends last winter, and will hit Cambodia this summer.

“After turning 50 or 60, women enjoy travel and sports activities more than men do,” Lee said. “Certainly, women have more time to enjoy themselves and are healthier.”

Korean society’s shifting emphasis toward work-life balance has been reflected in credit card spending. By industry, sports and leisure ranked fifth last year in credit card spending, up from ninth in 2005.

Spending by middle-aged women on leisure activities has also increased.

Last year, credit card spending on sports and leisure activities by men in their 50s increased 41 percent from 2005. That by women in their 50s, however, surged 70 percent over the same period.

Spending on leisure activities by women in their 60s also increased 62 percent over the same period, higher than 27 percent for their male counterparts.

In leisure activity spending, only men in their 20s spent more than women in the same age group, while women spent more on leisure activities in other age groups. The spending gap between men and women widened with age.

Choi Suk-hee, manager of brand marketing research at Daehong Communications, said, “After dedicating themselves to raising their children for a long time, middle-aged women are enjoying cultural and leisure activities for themselves.”

○ Increased spending on pet treatment

In 2005, BC Card users spent 26.3 billion won at pet clinics. The figure rose 86 percent to 48.8 billion won last year.

Spending on pet treatment increased since more families and singles are living with pets, and they apparently are sparing no expense to keep their beloved animals healthy.

Veterinarian Park Seong-oh, a member of the Korea Veterinary Medical Association, said, “Many people have lived with pets. They have to pay more to treat ‘old pets.’”

Lee Seong-gyu of Monami Pet.com, a shopping mall for pet products, said, “Sales of products for aged animals have increased. For example, sales of products designed for old dogs last year jumped 20 percent from a year ago.”

chance@donga.com havefun@donga.com