While South Korean consumers are known for being very brand conscious, this may less the case for less conspicuous consumption of cheaper items.
Once upon a time, the big brands led the market in providing reasonable value. For example, thirty or so years ago, off-brands and private label goods were not only inferior, they were actually sometimes dangerous to consume. But this is much less the case today.
Furthermore, there is little social advantage to be gained by not using big brand names when it comes to low cost items consumed in the home.
I would venture to guess that the more public or conspicuous the item the stronger the brand loyalty or preference – particularly if the good is expensive or luxurious.
Private labels no longer second class
By Kim Mi-ju
Korea JoongAng Daily
May 28, 2012
Economic times may be tough, but social status is always a concern in South Korea.