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Cross-border Ecommerce - The Paypers

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The Cross-Border Ecommerce Community (CBEC) enables Merchants, Payment Service Providers, ISOs and Acquiring Banks to access valuable content about mature and developing markets that can support strategic decision-making. Read more

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Republic of Korea

Mobile commerce and online shopper behaviour in Republic of Korea

Read below more about ecommerce growth, ecommerce sales and cross-border ecommerce in South Korea

Detailed information to be found in the Cross-border Ecommerce Report – South Korea

South Korea, with a large community of technologically connected internet users, is witnessing interesting ecommerce trends. Mobile commerce in particular is booming, with a CAGR of 154.7% since 2011. Tech savvy consumers have discovered that products are significantly cheaper overseas, therefore cross-border ecommerce is exploding; imports through ecommerce grew 47% in 2013.

Total Population
- 50 million inhabitants
Age Breakdown
- 47.8% of the population in South Korea is between 25 and 54.
- Although Christianity is the most prominent religion in South Korea at 26.3%, (Protestant 19.7%, Roman Catholic 6.6%), 49.3% do not align themselves with a religion.
Urban Population
- 83.2%
Internet Penetration
- 84%
Mobile Penetration
- 110%
Tablet Penetration
- 7.5% in 2012
Smartphone Penetration
- 40%
- 20 million subscribers
Online Shoppers
- 29.2 million
- 71.1% of internet users
Ecommerce Sales
- USD 10.2 billion (KRW 10.4 trillion)
- 16% increase since 2012
- The proportion of online shopping to total retail sales in South Korea was 10.9% in 2013, up from 9.7% in 2012.
Ecommerce Penetration
- 71.1%
Ecommerce CAGR (2007 – 2012)
- 14.1%
Mobile Commerce
- USD 2.8 billion (KRW 2.9 trillion)
- Forecasted to reach USD 9.7 billion (KRW 10 trillion) value in 2014.
- The mobile commerce market has grown since 2011 at a CAGR of 154.7%, 2.5 times faster than the US.

 • Mobile OS platforms
- Android OS accounted for 60% of total smartphone subscribers.

Cross-border Ecommerce Opportunities

• South Korea’s retailers have agreements with manufacturers that allow them to charge a premium for foreign and domestic products. As a result, online consumers pay local product prices of up to nine times higher than overseas.
• Imports through ecommerce websites rose 47% in 2013, to about USD 1 billion.
• Cross-border credit card spending grew 15.4% in 2013, considerably greater than the increase in domestic credit card spending of 3.2%.
• The retail industry forecasts that “Reserve Direct Global Shopping”, where foreign customers access Korean online shopping malls to buy products, will reach USD 955.4 million in 2016 from USD 191 million in 2013.

Language as a Key Driver

• Korean is the official language of South Korea with 42 million speakers.
• 80 million people speak Korean in countries worldwide including China, Japan, and the US.

Read the complete text (including sources) about mobile commerce, online shopper behavior, ecommerce growth, ecommerce sales, cross-border ecommerce in South Korea in the downloadable country report.