Korean Consumer Spending to Mount Comeback in 2021

Myeongdong shopping street in Seoul, South Korea. Shutterstock

As South Korea prepares for vaccine rollouts beginning in March, consumer confidence and household spending metrics in the country are returning to positive territory, according to new research from Fitch Solutions.

Real household spending is expected to see growth in 2021, but won’t reach pre-pandemic levels until at least 2022, it said. Total spending should rise 2.5 percent year-on-year after falling 7.4 percent on the year in 2020. Clothing and footwear spending saw more dramatic falls in 2020, down 10 percent compared with 2019 levels, but these categories are also expected to see a more dramatic bounce in 2021, expected to rise 4.2 percent year-on-year.

Consumer confidence in Korea has been trending upwards since the second half of 2020. The country has done a comparatively good job of controlling its Covid-19 outbreak, but the economic fallout has led to a higher rate of unemployment that is still dragging on confidence. After hitting a record low of 73.3 in April 2020, consumer confidence had risen to 95.4 in January of 2021, compared with 104.8 seen in January 2020, pre-Covid.

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