Korean hangover relief market grows to a record as Covid measures lifted

2023. 3. 15. 12:51
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Hangover relief items are displayed in a convenience store [Photo by Choi Jae-won]
The Korean market for hangover relief products surpassed a record 300 billion won ($231 million) in sales last year, marking 30 years since the first such product was first introduced in 1992.

The shift from pandemic to endemic played a significant role in driving up the demand for such products since April last year, as more people spend time drinking together outside and more alcohol drinkers seek ways to alleviate the symptoms of a hangover.

In recent years, stick-type hangover relief items that are easy to carry and consume without water have become popular, especially among young consumers.

According to NielsenIQ data on Tuesday, the Korean hangover relief market grew by 40 percent on year to 312.7 billion won last year from 224.1 billion won in 2021. The market expanded to 267.8 billion won in 2019 before shrinking for two years following the Covid-19 outbreak, but it rebounded to a record in 2022.

The main reason for the rapid market expansion last year is attributed to the increase in drinking occasions after pandemic restrictions are lifted. Another reason is that millennials and young adults, who are accustomed to enjoying wine or whiskey at home, are actively using hangover relief products to enjoy drinking without getting drunk.

While people in their 40s and 50s consume anti-hangover products to manage their condition the following morning, those in their 20s and early 30s seek these products to enjoy drinking for a longer time without getting too drunk, explained an industry official.

The preference for types of hangover relief products varies by age group. People in their 40s and 50s prefer traditional drink-type products, while those in their 20s and 30s prefer stick or pill products that are easy to carry.

While drink-type products cost around 3,000-4,000 won per bottle, sticks or pills are relatively cheap at around 1,500 won per packet.

Samyang Corp. was the first to launch a stick product in 2019, after introducing a hangover cure in the form of a pill in 2013. The share of stick-type products in the company’s sales has tripled in two years, from 11 percent in 2020 to 35 percent last year.

As the company’s stick-type hangover relief product gained popularity, competitors followed suit with stick hangover remedies. In March last year, HK inno.N Corp., the maker of ‘Condition’, the original hangover remedy and market leader in Korea, launched ‘Condition Stick’. The jelly-type product sold about 12 million packets within 10 months of its launch.

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