A young couple compare air purifiers at an electronics store in Seoul on May 7.
Young couples are buying more cleaning appliances and small stylish gadgets but are turning their backs on big home entertainment systems and kitchen equipment.
Analysis of the sales of major home appliances at Lotte Hi-Mart in the first quarters of the last three years shows that cordless or robot vacuum cleaners, clothing-care contraptions and air purifiers went up by 60 to 500 percent annually. Sales of steam closets rose by a whopping 980 percent last year.
But sales of TVs and refrigerators did not grow much in the first half of this year, suggesting that the focus of the home appliance market is shifting according to the lifestyle of busy young couples.
The trend seems to be led by couples who furnish their first marital home in the high season, when purchases for marital homes account for 30 percent of total sales.
"With an increase in the number of double-income households, many families now get more food deliveries or eat out", said Yang Dong-cheol at Lotte Hi-Mart. "Therefore more and more young couples are now buying smaller and simpler refrigerators rather than large high-end ones. Also, many decide not to buy TVs because everything is on mobile devices now".
Young couples are spending more on small appliances like high-end toasters, kettles and coffee machines for quick breakfasts. Italian brand Smeg, whose toasters, kettles and blenders cost more than W200,000 saw their sales soar by 51 percent last year (US$1=W1,080).
Premium coffee machines from Switzerland's JURA, Australia's Breville and Italy's Conti, which cost well over W1 million, are selling very well among young people.
A staffer at an online retailer, "Young consumers Don't Hesitate to spend big money on things that they think are practical and stylish. Hair dryers or fans that cost over W500,000 and cordless vacuum cleaners that costs over W1 million all sell well among young couples about to get married".
Products related to better health and fashion are also proving popular.
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