With all the economic doom and gloom that dominates today’s newspapers, we should recognize that South Korea remains, so far, relatively unscathed. And, as anywhere, the wealthy or wish-to-appear-wealthy fuel the ongoing consumption of luxury goods.
Even Korean consumers in the lower economic levels often have a better knowledge of high-end luxury brands than their American counterparts. At the same time, the sophistication of those consumers who can easily afford luxury brands is often decidedly less than that of their Western peers. The result is a Korean market that continues to be flooded with counterfeit products. While many Korean consumer apparently makes little effort to differentiate between the luxurious quality found with genuine goods and the simple social status of a luxury product’s brand—counterfeit or real, there is also a growing class of wealthy Koreans who would not be caught dead with a counterfeit. In other words, with wealth becoming truly established among more and more families, the demand for the real item is becoming stronger.
The two, below articles gives a decent overview of this vibrant sector of the Korean economy.
In South Korea, a mass market for luxury goods
7-Eleven and others plan to offer designer accessories at outlets
by Jungyoun Park
Reuters/New York Times
Dec. 13, 2011
outh Koreans are less bashful than other Asians about flaunting their bling.
By Brian Salsberg and Martine Jae-Eun Shin
McKinsey & Co.