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Unlock Your eCommerce Potential in Korea with Coupang

Guest PostGuest Post
December 23, 2021

If you’re a cross-border seller and you’re not yet selling into Korea, it’s time to get started. Why, you ask? With its super connected population, high disposable income and densely populated cities optimized for deliveries, Korea is also the world’s 4th largest eCommerce market – in fact, eCommerce is now the biggest retail channel in Korea. The good news is that with the help of Coupang and Payoneer, this exciting opportunity is simple, straightforward and right at your fingertips!

Traditionally, breaking into the Korean market, especially for non-Korean sellers, was challenging. Language and cultural differences created major obstacles for global sellers looking to venture into this lucrative market. Fortunately, Korea’s leading eCommerce marketplace, Coupang, streamlines this process so that overseas sellers can access one of the world’s strongest customer bases.

Curious to find out what means? Read on and we’ll cover what makes Korea uniquely advantageous for sellers seeking cross-border expansion and how Coupang can help get you there.

Tap into a $134 Billion Market of Eager Shoppers

With transactions valued at more than $134 billion in 2020, Korea punches far above its weight when it comes to eCommerce and is currently the 4th  largest market worldwide. A whopping 30% of sales in Korea took place online (excluding service-related sales), making it an online shopping powerhouse. In addition to its market size, Korea offers a plethora of benefits for eCommerce businesses. Additional reasons to expand into Korea include:

A Highly Wired Population

Even among OECD countries, Korea is renowned for its high internet usage rate, with 99.2% of households having internet access via PC, mobile, or another device. With so many eyeballs on screens, it’s no wonder that online business is booming. In addition, over 68% of Korea’s online sales occur on mobile devices, which bodes well for eCommerce sellers as it means Korean shoppers are ready to purchase goods anywhere and at any time.

Disposable Income

As the fourth largest economy in Asia and a GDP per capita of US$43,319, Korean consumers have a high level of disposable income.

High Population Density

Korea’s tech-savvy population is highly concentrated. In fact, Seoul is home to approximately half of the country’s residents and is one of the world’s most densely populated cities. This is especially beneficial for Coupang sellers, as 70% of Koreans live within a 7-mile radius of a Coupang warehouse, giving them a competitive edge when it comes to deliveries.

Strong Demand for International Products

With its global outlook, Korea is full of highly cosmopolitan citizens. In addition, as the country’s significant diaspora returns home, they add to Korea’s international mindset. So, it’s no surprise that overseas items are hugely popular in Korea and KOSIS data demonstrates the fortitude of this demand with cross-border eCommerce purchase volume growing consistently YoY. In 2020, Koreans purchased over 4 trillion KRW worth of overseas goods online. It is projected this volume will grow by 13% for 2021.

What to Sell in Korea

While it might be tempting to just jump into the Korean market with your existing product line, it’s important to consider Korea’s unique shopping culture when planning your expansion. Looking for ideas as to what to sell? Here the leading eCommerce product categories in Korea during 2020:

  1. Fashion – Fashion products were the leading product category amongst Korean shoppers, accounting for 27% of total eCommerce revenues.
  2. Food and Personal Care – Coming in second place, food and personal care products generated 23% of total eCommerce revenues.
  3. Electronics and Media – 19% of eCommerce revenues in Korea came from electronics and media purchases.
  4. Toys, Hobby and DIY – Korean shoppers spent heavily on toys, hobby and DIY products, representing 18% of total eCommerce purchases.
  5. Furniture and Appliances – Lastly, furniture and appliance sales generated 14% of total revenues.

Introducing Coupang, Korea’s Premier ECommerce Marketplace

According to Wiseapp, Coupang is Korea’s most preferred shopping app, proudly serving up to 17 million active users. Earlier this year, Coupang made its IPO debut on the New York Stock Exchange, cementing its position as a leader in Korean eCommerce and demonstrating its commitment to bringing the world to Korea. Coupang is beloved by Korean shoppers for its speedy delivery, easy payment solutions & extensive, global product selection. In addition, Coupang’s 1-1 seller support and multilingual platform make onboarding a breeze! These are just a few reasons why in Q3, 2021 Coupang’s constant currency revenue has twice as fast as the rest of the Korean eCommerce segment.

Selling in Korea – It’s Not as Hard as You Think!

No Korean? No cross-border sales experience? No problem. With its global mentality, Coupang excels in facilitating cross-border eCommerce. Its multilingual staff and platform allow overseas sellers to feel at home while selling in Korea so, even if you don’t speak Korean, you can speak fluent Coupang! Of course, entering a new market involves more than just speaking the local language – you’ll need to navigate through local regulations, logistics and so much more. This can be a huge hurdle for sellers unfamiliar with the Korean market, but not to worry – Coupang is here to help with its handy Service Provider Network (SPN). Sellers can refer to Coupang’s SPN to look up translators, storage, certification agencies and shipping companies among others.

Coupang’s partnership with Payoneer is another major milestone in the company’s commitment to ensuring a seamless experience for international sellers, allowing a painless payment experience. This means more flexibility in multi-currency transactions and better rates! For sellers who sign up with Payoneer’s Green Channel Program, the onboarding process is made even easier with Payoneer’s specialized support team.

Getting Started

Whether you’re ready to start selling or you want to find out more, your first port of call is the Coupang Marketplace website. Signing up is a breeze and the registration process is free and simple. Plus, you don’t even need a Korean business license or a bank account. All you need is your email address, phone number & business license (as noted, non-Korean is accepted) on hand. For additional assistance, get in touch with Coupang at helpseller_global@coupang.com.


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