South East Asia

Luxury at your convenience

Isaac Mostovicz writes that luxury marketers are finding increasingly creative ways to target South Korean consumers....

Image courtesy of Homeplus

In the wake of Kim Jong Il’s death and the changes taking place in North Korea, I was interested to read a recent article on Reuters that discussed the ways luxury marketers are targeting South Koreans.


I have previously written on the trend for Chinese consumers to purchase fake luxury carrier bags, demonstrating that the Asian love affair with luxury seemingly continues to go from strength to strength.


As the world’s 13th largest economy and an increasingly affluent base of consumers, marketers have offered consumers there a novel way of purchasing luxury goods – through mass-market access.


South Koreans will now be able to purchase designers items during their weekly shop at Seven Eleven. The chain, ubiquitous throughout South East Asia, also sold Gucci shoulder bags and wallets during Korea’s Thanksgiving festival in September.


“It was a big success, and we are thinking of expanding our luxury gift line to other accessories for the New Year,” said Seven-Eleven marketing official Cho Yun-jung.


But it’s not just convenience retailers like Seven Eleven that are cornering this market. Retailers Tesco and Lotte Mart, an Asian hypermarket, are also selling Chanel, Prada, Ferragamo and Balenciaga.


The luxury goods market is booming in Korea, with sales growing “at least 12% to an estimated $4.5 million last year,” according to a report by McKinsey & Company in August. This can be attributed to demographics – with more working women who have additional disposable incomes – as well as tourists from nearby China and Japan, who stock up on luxury goods in trips to the region, attracted by South Korea’s cheap currency.


Furthermore, South Koreans have increased access to credit as local banks are eager to provide shoppers with tailored credit cards to fund their spending habits, for example the Hyundai Card which offers “the Black” and “the Purple,” with various luxury life style-friendly features.


The Financial Times has reported that the latest strategy of French luxury giants in Korea is investing in affluent districts such as Chungdham and Apgujeong-dong.


It seems South Korea is the latest strategic location where luxury marketers are investing to strengthen their brands.

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