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Streaming services and food delivery apps catch on with older generations during pandemic: report

Delivery workers are seen on the street in Seoul. (Yonhap)
Delivery workers are seen on the street in Seoul. (Yonhap)
In a further sign of growing popularity of online services, South Koreans in their 50s and 60s are increasingly using streaming services and food delivery apps during this pandemic, a new report has revealed.

The findings come after Hana Institute of Finance, a research institution under Hana Bank, analyzed online credit card payment data between 2019 and 2020 to study generational differences in online consumption behavior.

Though the use of video streaming services such as Netflix used to be dominated by younger generations who are more digital-savvy, the amount of money spent by users in their 50s and 60s rose by 181 percent and 166 percent, respectively between the two years.

Delivery apps also saw a similar pattern as those in their 50s and 60s spent 163 percent and 142 percent more on such apps in 2020 compared to the previous year.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continued last year, middle-aged people are expanding online consumption activities. The rate at which the number of credit card purchases is growing is higher than their spending, which means they are making more small-sum payments to buy things like daily necessities or to use delivery apps or subscribe to over-the-top media services,” the report said.

While credit card payment volume among those aged 30 and below rose by an average of 24 percent between 2019 and 2020, those aged 40 and over saw a 49 percent jump on average.

On e-commerce platforms such as Coupang, Gmarket, 11st and Auction, those aged 40 and over also an increase rate of credit card payment volume nearly 180 percent higher than their younger counterparts – a sign that more middle-aged shoppers are taking their shopping online.

Luxury goods also enjoyed a surge in popularity during the pandemic, particularly among those in their 20s and 30s who accounted for some 55 percent of all online purchases of luxury goods last year.

Spending by the two age groups on luxury goods rose by 80 percent and 75 percent, respectively, between 2019 and 2020.

Due to the impact of the pandemic, online spending on travel and accommodation dropped across all age groups, the report showed, except those in their 20s who pivoted to traveling within the country.

As teleworking took off and people spend more time at home, however, online credit card spending on electronic gadgets increased among those aged 40 and below.

By Yim Hyun-su (