The consumption gap is further widening between the rich and poor as income inequality and consumer prices rise.
Statistics Korea said Tuesday that the bottom 10 percent of households by income concentrate their spending on daily necessities such as food and settling monthly utility bills.
Meanwhile, the top 10 percent spend their wealth on education for their children, travel, entertainment and other cultural activities.
Groceries and nonalcoholic drinks accounted for more than 23 percent of total spending by the lowest-income households last year, the statistics bureau said.
This is followed by expenditure on rent, utilities and health care. Overall, low-income families spent more than 50 percent on food, housing bills and medical treatment.
In contrast, food and nonalcoholic beverages accounted for only 11 percent of income spent among top income earners, followed by utility and housing fees at 8 percent and health care at 6 percent.
Transportation or travel spending including gas accounted for 14.4 percent of the total, the biggest expenditure by high-income households last year.
Education for children and self-improvement followed, taking up 14 percent of their spending, or about six times what the low-income earners spent in the category, the statistics bureau noted.
The wealthy spent about 8 percent on clothes and shoes, or twice as much as the poor, and 7 percent on entertainment and culture, or 1.6 times the low-income households’ expenditure.
The growing consumption inequality is mostly attributable to the widening gap in income between the rich and poor, while the economic slowdown and rising consumer prices are further making low-income households tighten their spending.
The top 10 percent earned an average of 9.2 million won ($8,300) a month, compared to about 902,000 won for the bottom 10 percent bracket last year. In 2003 when the statistics bureau began recording the data, the top bracket earned 5.8 million won a month, while the lowest-income group earned 630,000 won.
By Park Hyong-ki (email@example.com