Although the TV home shopping concept (i.e., telephone ordering in response to advertisements or marketing programmes on the TV) started in the U.S., South Korea has become one of the biggest home shopping markets in the world. Home shopping was introduced into South Korea in 1995 and currently the major players are CJ O Shopping, GS Shop, Lotte Home Shopping, Hyundai Home Shopping and NS Home Shopping. TV home shopping industry has benefited from the efficient logistics and parcel delivery service and the widespread access to cable TVs and smartphones in South Korea. Furthermore, the Korean home shopping operators have developed a Korean-style TV home shopping model which is different from their western counterparts.
TV home shopping is a popular shopping channel for Koreans. For example, NS Home Shopping had 24 million household views annually and an average of 100,000 transactions each day as of March 2014. NS Home Shopping partnered with Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd. and successfully sold about 1.5 tonnes of Australian lamb products in just 35 minutes though its channel in 2014.
Home shopping channels in western countries tend to adopt the short infomercial format which focuses on conveying the functions and features of the products. In South Korea, home shopping channels manage to keep viewers watching their shows for a full hour by making them entertaining. They tend to use the entertainment show format in which the hosts try to appear more natural and casual, talking to the audience like friends and may go lengths to demonstrate the products. The home shopping channels may even compete fiercely for star hosts to sell their items as there is a strong emotional bond between popular hosts and customers which help attract customers to their channels. In some cases, customers may also take part in the shows through text messages.
Sometimes, international celebrities are invited to act as the honorary hosts. For example, Miranda Kerr, the Australian-born supermodel, appeared on GS Shop to promote the Wonderbra lingerie for which she modeled in South Korea. You can watch the video clip of Miranda Kerr’s appearance on GS Shop by clicking the link below:
There is a great variety of products available for sale on Korean home shopping channels, e.g., home appliances, food, baby products, clothing, kitchenware, household appliances and even insurance. The home shopping operators also source items from the other countries. For example, apart from local famous brands like Samsung and LG, GS Shop also provides foreign brands like Canon, Philips, Morgan and Ferrino.
With the widespread usage of smartphones, the Korean home shopping operators have tried to expand their sales conduit from TV to online shopping malls and mobile channels. Mobile shopping has also become popular among Koreans. For example, CJ O Shopping’s mobile shopping sales increased by 79% during the Thanksgiving holiday of 2014 compared to that of 2013 whereas TV home shopping sales increased only 40% during the same period.
On the other hand, consumer complaints related to TV home shopping have also increased – consumer complaints received by the Korea Consumer Agency (“KCA”) increased by 37.5% from 272 in 2011 to 374 in 2013. According to the KCA, the top complaint was related to “poor quality or after-sale service” (44.7%), followed by “refusal to cancel the contract or excessive cancellation fee” (16.8%), “exaggerated or false advertisements” (15.6%) and “safety issues such as side effects” (5.4%). So, be careful when you want to buy things through the TV home shopping channels.
Happy shopping! 🙂
Reminder: The next blog post will be published on 13 February 2015. Watch this space!
Song Ji-sun, “Industry insight: Korea’s home-shopping industry seeking to become global No.1“, Arirang News, 2015-02-09
“Increase in consumer complaints related to TV home shopping“, Korea Consumer Agency, 2014-11-21
M.H. Lee, “Miranda Kerr appears in Korea’s home shopping channel as underwear model“, The Korea Bizwire, 2014-10-16
“Home shopping networks focusing on mobile channels“, BusinessKorea, 2014-09-16
Bahk Eun-ji, “Home shopping channels compete for star hosts“, The Korea Times, 2014-06-10
“Aussie lamb makes Korean television debut“, Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd., 2014-03-13
Myung-kil, “Korea No.1 in TV home shopping“, Arirang News, 2013-05-16
Kim Ji-hyun, “World is too small for GS Home Shopping“, The Korea Herald, 2013-03-26
Yum Tae-jung and Park Sung-ha, “Home shopping to celebrate 10th birthday“, Korea JoongAng Daily, 2005-07-28