Reaching the Consumer in South Korea

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Marketing Opportunities

Growing Sectors
Education & training services, healthy products (food, nutritional complements), household consumer goods, housing decoration, computer software, medical equipment, new energy power generation, pharmaceuticals, fashion & luxurious goods, ?silver services?, and travel & tourism.
Consumer Behavior
Korean consumers are very sensitive to the power of the brand name, the healthy apsect of a product and perfect after sales services. They are ready to pay for the quality. Korean consumers like to be guided and well informed when they buy something. They are less and less nationalist in their purchasing preference.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
A large part of Korean's households are rich or very rich. They value the brands because in Korean you are what you wear or what you show to other people. As a result, Korean consumers are quite conformist and so it is important to follow the trend and local trend-makers (pop stars, actors, talents?).
Consumer Recourse to Credit
The use of consumer credits through credit cards is high. However, since the credit card crisis of the 2002, Korean consumers are more strictly monitored by financial authorities.
Consumers Associations
Consumers Korea
Korean National Council of Consumer Organisations
KCA , Korea Consumer Agency

Media in Which to Advertise

Expensive but reaches consumers massively and has a deep impact.

Main Televisions
KBS / Korea Broad. System
MBC / Munhwa Broad. Corp.
SBS / Seoul Broad. System
Expensive but reaches consumers massively. High development of free newspapers such as Metro. Mostly in Seoul metropolis (50 % of the national population). Advertising in magazines is the best option to reach a focused target, consumer group or to sell industrial and commercial products.

Main Newspapers
The Chosun Ilbo
Home or online shopping malls, department stores, supermarket, outlets, restaurants, are using always mails for marketing. During sale season, the mail catalogues or pamphlets attract the consumers with the included discount coupons.
In Transportation Venues
Inside subway cars, buses, and in stations, hanging flyers, framed posters, stickers, and flat-panel video.

Market Leaders:
Seoul Metro
Club Ad (Ad company via the transportation)
Chunkwang Advertisement (Ad company for Bus)
Few radio stations.

Main Radios
KBS Radio
MBC Radio
SBS Radio
EBS Radio
New Technologies (E-Marketing, SMS, etc.)

Korea is one of the World leaders in IT industry and high speed Internet. Advertising through Internet is very important (banner, buzz, blogs, e-mails). To advertise through SMS, consumers should be enrolled.

Advertising through phone is used but not appreciated by consumers.

Market Leaders:
Korea Internet Service
Million Communications
Miae I&C
SMS, MMS Ad service of LG Dacom
Unitel Ppurio
Main Advertising Agencies
Cheil Communications
Daehong Communications

Main Principles of Advertising Regulations

The words "Drinking is accepted for those over 19 years" must be included. Advertisements on TV allowed after 10 pm.
Korean men are big smokers and usually women do not smoke (it is not socially accepted). Should be over 19 years to buy tobacco. Forbidden to show someone smoking on TV.
Must be approved by the Korean Food and Drugs Administration.
Other Rules
Anti-social, anti-moral or exaggerated advertisement is not permitted.

Click here the related Consumer Laws on Korea Consumer Agency.

Use of Foreign Languages in Advertisement
Foreign commercials must always include Korean language.
Organizations Regulating Advertising
Korea Advertising Review Board (KARB) (in Korean)
Korea Internet Advertising Deliberation Organization

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