Korean duty-free shops gear up to reach out to global consumers via online

Hong Sung-yong and Jenny Lee 입력 2022. 6. 29. 13:48
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South Korea’s duty-free majors are ready to take on the bigger global consumer market as they have been licensed by local authority to offer online malls to foreign nationals.

According to the travel retail industry on Tuesday, Korea’s top 4 duty-free shop operators – Lotte, Shilla, Shinsegae, and Hyundai – have launched foreign language e-commerce platforms where non-Korean shoppers can buy Korean products without going through a third party.

Korea Customs Service in March came up with guidelines on online duty-free sales of Korean products to foreign shoppers, including cosmetics, apparel, functional food, and electronic goods to become available from July.

The liberalization came to aid duty-free shop operators expand sales channels after they suffered big from pandemic standstill in tourists mostly from China. There is no cap in e-commerce.

The Shilla Duty Free Shop, the world’s third-largest duty-free chain, recently signed a deal with Cainiao Network, Alibaba’s logistics unit, to cooperate in shipping of duty-free products from Korea. It has prepared about 300 popular items, such as cosmetics and food supplements to kick off its online mall in July, while Cainiao is set to provide end-to-end shipping services for Korean products to Chinese shoppers.

The number of Chinese cross-border shoppers was estimated at 158 million in 2020, and the market is forecast to continue to grow for a while, considering the growing purchasing power of Chinese people and the rising demand for imported products in the world’s biggest consumer market.

Shilla’s rival Lotte Duty Free will also open its online platform targeting foreign shoppers on Wednesday. It plans to offer services to those in nine countries, including China, Japan, and the United States. Its lineup will include 220 Korean items, including cosmetics and fashion products.

Shinsegae Duty Free plans to open an online mall targeting Chinese shoppers in July, while Hyundai Duty Free Shop has started brand selections to open an online mall in the second half of the year.

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