Korea’s Cybermall Sales Increase 30% in Last Q

Korea’s cybermall online transactions are gaining momentum in Korea, with the first-quarter sales soaring by about
30 percent over the previous quarter.

Lotte Department Store’s cybermall Hello Seoul saw its first-quarter revenue reach
US$1.46 million, an increase of 30 percent from the previous quarter. With more than 135,000 members, Hello Shopping posted 2.5 billion won in sales last year, and set its 1999 sales goal at 4 billion won, according to company officials.

Sales of Samsung Internet Shopping Mall, which was launched last October by Samsung Corp., jumped from US$830,000 in the fourth quarter to US$1.37 million in the first quarter of 1999. Likewise, first-quarter sales through the Samsung SDS cybermall Uniplaza increased 30 percent to US$1.3 million.

Korea’s online shopping malls have been enjoying steadily growing sales since 1996 when Lotte launched Hello Seoul, the first cybermall in Korea. The number cybermalls more than doubled from 150 malls in January 1998 to to 350
shops last January. Still, merchants question e-commerce profitability because of the high cost of shipping.

Cybermall sales totaled about 15 billion won (US$12.5 million) as of January 1999, which represents a 240 percent increase from a year earlier’s 6.2 billion won (US$5.1 million), according to government statistics.

Industry analysts predict that the local e-commerce will grow to a market of 35 billion won (US$29 million) by the end of this year thanks to the increasing number of working couples who usually prefer to save the time required for shopping.

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