“The packaging sticker is intact and there is a dedicated shopping bag.” Lee Jong-beom (33), who lives in Dongjak-gu, Seoul, recently saw the above advertisement at an online second-hand market and bought a canned tuna set for 25,000 won. Even though he would purchase gift sets for his acquaintances every Chuseok, because of price hikes of about 20 percent this year, he was feeling the pinch. "The same product was selling for 40,000 won at a hyper mart, so I bought it right away at a 40 percent discount at an online second-hand store,” Lee said. “I was able to save about 90,000 won by purchasing all the other gifts from second-hand platforms as well.”
Recently, an increasing number of people in their 20s and 30s are purchasing Chuseok gifts from online second-hand markets. As Chuseok gift prices are also skyrocketing due to intensive inflation, young people who want to save even a little are turning their attention to second-hand markets.
Kang Yeon-yi (29), who works in Mapo-gu, Seoul, also recently bought a red ginseng gift set at a second-hand market. After finding employment three years ago, she said she has bought gifts for her relatives at the department store every year, but she did not this year. “I was getting concerned about what to do with Chuseok gifts, because my living expenses were growing due to rising prices,” Kang said. “I decided to purchase gifts from the second-hand stores readily because shopping bags that are offered at the department stores came with them.” She was also able to save 20,000 to 50,000 won per product by purchasing gifts from the second-hand store apps.
The reason why Chuseok gift sets in second-hand markets are widely available is because there are many people who want to sell unnecessary gifts at a discounted price ahead of the Chuseok holidays. In particular, among working people in their 20s and 30s who live alone, “Chuseok holiday investment,” by putting the Chuseok gift sets they had received from their employers or acquaintances up for sale without opening them, is a popular trend.
As of Tuesday morning, three days before the Chuseok holiday, on a second-hand trading platform, 69 items were available for sale under the category of Chuseok gift sets in Jungnang-gu, Seoul, along with introductions such as “The product hasn’t been opened, so it’ll make a good gift.” The gifts posted ranged from foods such as processed ham and nuts to toothpaste and shampoo sets.
"Chuseok gift sets usually contain several items of one or two types of products, which are too many for single-person households," said Chae Hyeon-mi (28), an office worker. “Companies give out a set of canola oil every holiday, and I’m monetizing them by selling them second-hand.”
Some point out that trading second-hand Chuseok gifts is dismissing the generosity of those offered them. “For the MZ generation, second-hand trading is one of the tricks to living in an era of high prices,” said Lee Eun-hee, a professor of consumerism at Inha University. “The MZ generation, who values cost-effectiveness and practicality, considers it a rational choice to sell things they don't need and to buy second-hand products at a lower price if they are the equal products.”