South Korea

South Korea

General Information

  • Population 51.3m
  • Population 15 + 44.7m
  • Online Population 49.7m
  • Area 100,210 km2
  • Currency KRW
  • GDP 1,631bn USD
  • GDP per Capita 31,497 USD
  • Card-based payments
  • Cash-based payments
  • Bank transfer
  • Wallets
  • Other
[{"label":"Card-based payments","value":"72"},{"label":"Cash-based payments","value":"2"},{"label":"Bank transfer","value":"5"},{"label":"Wallets","value":"17"},{"label":"Other","value":"4"}]
Banked population
  • South Korea 95%
  • Asia Pacific 71%
  • World 67%
Credit card penetration
  • South Korea 64%
  • Asia Pacific 13%
  • World 19%
Internet penetration
  • South Korea 97%
  • Asia Pacific 60%
  • World 62%
Smartphone penetration
  • South Korea 85%
  • Asia Pacific 71%
  • World 70%

Koreans primarily buy online because of the convenience of delivery. Some stores such as Coupang offer a dawn delivery service – if you order before midnight, they will deliver at dawn the next day. And most stores offer at least a next day delivery if not same day.

There is no Amazon in South Korea. Instead, the largest e-commerce market-place in South Korea is called Coupang with 16 m active users. 74% of the South Korean population live within seven miles of a Coupang logistics centre making same day and dawn deliveries very easy.

The South Korean government recently announced plans to increase the growth of online retail in the country. They are planning to invest 267 m $US over three years to help both retailers build on the COVID e-commerce momentum and the development of unmanned logistics.

South Korea’s economy dropped by 1% in 2020 but is forecast to grow by 3.6% in 2021 and 2.8% in 2022 according to the IMF. Inflation rose slightly in 2020 by 0.5% and is expected to rise by 1.4% in 2021 and 0.9% in 2022.

Future e-commerce trends (2021-2025)

E-Commerce market size forecast ($US billion)
2021 120.3
2022 147.6
2023 177.8
2024 210.0
2025 242.2
E-Commerce spending per capita ($US)
2021 2321
2022 2845
2023 3423
2024 4039
2025 4654
E-Commerce spending as % of GDP
2021 6.6
2022 7.8
2023 9.0
2024 10.2
2025 11.2

South Korea

The E-Commerce Market

Top e-commerce segments 2019 | 2020

  1. Clothing & Footwear: 31% | 29%
  2. Food & Drink: 13% | 16%
  3. Electrical Goods: 15% | 16%
  4. Furniture & Homeware: 12% | 14%

Cross-border e-commerce

  1. Cross-border proportion of total e-commerce – 10%
  2. Value of cross-border e-commerce ($US billion) – 9.5
  3. % of online shoppers who have shopped cross-border – NA

Top 3 cross-border shopping origin markets

  1. USA: 49%
  2. Europe: 23%
  3. Greater China: 19%
E-commerce % of total retail
  • South Korea 8%
  • Asia Pacific 23.8%
  • World 20%
E-commerce completed on a mobile device
  • South Korea 65%
  • Asia Pacific 59%
  • World 53%

The Credit Card Split

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Local Schemes
  • Other
[{"label":"Visa","value":"40"},{"label":"Mastercard","value":"28"},{"label":"American Express","value":"4"},{"label":"Local Schemes","value":"11"},{"label":"Other","value":"17"}]
  • E-commerce market size ($US billion) 96bn USD
  • E-Commerce spending per capita ($US) 1,853 USD
  • E-commerce spending as % of GDP 5.5%

The information on our Insights pages has been compiled by us in cooperation with Datamatics and Wright & Brown. The data shown is partially owned by us and partially owned by GlobalData. © 2021 by PPRO Financial Ltd. No data and information can be used for any further publication without the explicit approval of PPRO.

South Korea

Local Payment Methods

BitPay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Hyperwallet Type Bank transfer, Gift card, Prepaid voucher Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High PayPal Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Paysera Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Skrill Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High 123 Type Bank transfer, Cash Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Allied Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High UnionPay Type Local payment card Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Boku Type Carrier billing Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High KakaoPay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Masterpass Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Mobiamo Type Carrier billing Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Naver Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Razer Gold Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Samsung Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High ShinhanCard Type Local payment card Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High SWIFT Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Toss Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High T-Money Type Local payment card Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance Medium BankWallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Boloro Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 eggmoney Type Prepaid voucher Regions Asia Pacific G2A Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 NETELLER Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Splitit Type Instalments Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3

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