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Consumers spend more on ready-meals, gift sets for Chuseok amid COVID-19

Homeplus Signature ready-meal products (Homeplus)
Homeplus Signature ready-meal products (Homeplus)

As the majority of Koreans plan to stay at home during the upcoming Chuseok holiday, ready-meals and unique pandemic-related gift sets are selling like hot cakes.

Homeplus, a local supermarket chain, said it saw an 83 percent increase in online sales of refrigerated convenient meal products from Sept. 1 to 8, compared to the same period in the previous month. The sales figure is up 159 percent on-year.

The retailer said people are buying more ready-meal products that they can conveniently have in their homes, rather than fresh food to use for memorial rites tables for ancestors. More people are planning to stay home to follow the strict social distancing measures amid the COVID-19 crisis, the company added.

“An increasing number of customers are looking for convenient meal products as they plan to stay in their homes rather than move across the country for family gatherings for this year’s Chuseok holiday,” Homeplus product strategy division chief Neil Maffey said.

Homeplus said it will hold a discount event for ready-meal products, privately branded as Homeplus Signature, until Oct. 1.

About 50 items, such as frozen pollack and mung bean pancakes that can be heated up easily, will be on sale during the event, and a 10 percent discount will be offered to those buying more than two items, Homeplus said.

Gift sets that often reflect each year’s economic and social realities also appear to be changing this year.

As face-to-face meetings and family gatherings are discouraged during the holiday, people are spending more on preparing high-quality and premium gift sets to be sent to their loved ones.

Lotte Department Store, which has been selling Chuseok gift sets since last Monday, said sales of the gift sets have risen by 41 percent, while the average transaction per customer has also increased by 46 percent.

Consumers are also looking for unique gift items to make their presents even more special.

According to Lotte Department Store, over 30 percent of premium fresh truffle sets has been sold, and a special soy sauce set only available at Lotte was sold out two days after its launch.

“Overall demand for gifts has increased, and so has the demand for unique items,” an official from Lotte Department Store said.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com
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