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Working Koreans spend annual W1.4m on cash gifts: survey

South Koreans holding office jobs spend over 1.4 million won ($1,235) annually on cash gifts for special occasions, a poll showed Monday.

The research, conducted by job research portal Saramin, involved 435 local office workers.

Cash gifts cost about 73,000 won on average per event, the survey revealed, and respondents attended an average of 1.6 events per month, so their monthly expenses on such gifts totaled about 117,000 won.


Of the respondents, 74.3 percent cited “maintaining connections and networking purposes” as major reasons for attendance at special events that require cash gifts.

In Korea, cash is usually given at weddings and to express condolences when someone dies.

About 89.7 percent of respondents said they felt burdened or pressured to attend the events and 74.6 percent cited the financial burden as the main reason behind their reluctance.

Compared with 6.9 percent who said their expenses had decreased on-year, 38.9 percent said those expenses had increased. About 54.3 percent said they had remained about the same.

Married respondents, meanwhile, spent an average of about 1.6 million won annually, while those who were unmarried spent around 1.2 million won.

By Jung Min-kyung (