Mobile transactions brisk at online malls

Online payments using mobile devices have continued to rise in South Korea this year thanks to the widespread use of smartphones and easier transaction options tailored for tech-savvy consumers, industry data showed Friday.

11th Street and GMarket, the nation’s two leading open market operators, received about half of their online payments via mobile last month, the companies said, without elaborating on the total amount.

The average mobile transaction ratio for 11th Street added 13 percentage points to 43 percent this year through November, while the corresponding figure for GMarket gained 12 percentage points to 45 percent, they showed.

Mobile payments skyrocketed to 80-85 percent of online shopping in the May-July period after consumers shunned crowded supermarkets and department stores in the wake of the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in late May.

“Demand for mobile shopping was stronger among female consumers, considering higher mobile payments for women’s clothes, baby products, underwear and cosmetics,” a public relations official at 11th Street said. “Pet care products, do-it-yourself products and instant food also showed faster growth as single-person households continue to rise.”

Mobile payment growth was more impressive in social commerce sites, while transactions by those consumers in their 30s and 40s accounted for the highest transaction amount.

Ticket Monster, a major social commerce site operator, said that 78 percent of online payments were made via mobile devices in November, surpassing last year’s average of 70 percent.

“The ratio of mobile payments has sharply increased as consumers took advantage of easy transaction options customized for mobile shopping,” said Ha Sung-won, chief operating officer at Ticket Monster. “Mobile service expansion is not an option but a must for survival in the online retail industry.”


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