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Online marketplace sales of technical consumer goods in Korea surged 9 percent over last year: GfK

Laptops, TVs, and refrigerators are highest value generating segments

SEOUL, October 20, 2016 – E-commerce growth rate in the well-connected market of Korea is developing rapidly, with market value of online sales in the technical consumer goods sector growing at an even faster pace than the offline platform. According to GfK’s latest report, consumers in the country bought more than 3 trillion won worth of technical consumer goods off online marketplace retailers in the first eight months of this year—a substantial increment of nearly 9 percent more compared to the same period a year ago.

In comparison, GfK point of sales tracking revealed total sales generated for technical consumer goods from brick and mortar retailers this year growing by 4 percent from last year to reach a total value of over 8.3 trillion won. Online sales in Korea is today represents over a quarter (27%) of the overall consumer spend in this sector.

“The combined online and offline sales of technical consumer goods have contributed to the healthy performance of the sector, which grew 5 percent in value in the past year to reach over13 trillion won,” highlighted Kevin Kang, Commercial Director for GfK in Korea. “It is apparent that consumers are increasingly taking their shopping online as they get more comfortable with acquiring big ticket technology items from etailers instead of physical stores where touch and feel help provide quality assurance and contribute to the overall shopping experience.”

In January to August this year, almost half of all laptops sold (46%) in Korea are being acquired online, making it the highest value segment on accounting for over a-fifth (21%) of the sector’s total sales dollars on this platform. Trailing behind as the second largest segment in value terms is TV, representing 13 percent of total technical consumer goods purchases from the online marketplace. Compared to a year ago, sales value of TV generated from the internet has increased by 5 percent.

Online refrigerator sales in Korea represented 7 percent of the market’s total online sales, ranking it the third highest revenue generator. Consumer spend on this appliance reached over over 217 bilion won—16 percent more than last year.

GfK findings also revealed a rise in the average selling price of online technical consumer goods by 7 percent this year, demonstrating the increasing acceptance of shopping online for more expensive products. Another interesting insight is the fact that the average selling price for the desktop, digital camera and laptop segments are higher online than offline in the 1 to 7 percent range.

“These tech products are actively researched by consumers, and the higher online price trend is an indication that the online space no longer sells only the cheapest, but also mid to high-end products that offer more value for money to the discerning consumers,” Kang noted.

In volume terms, it was the smaller ticket items like data storage, memory cards and USB memory which garnered the most online transactions,  representing 11, 10 and 7 percent respectively of total technical consumer goods internet sales quantity.

“The foray of the traditional and reputable retailers such as established hypermarts and departmental stores into the internet shopping space has helped enhanced consumer confidence towards buying online, even for high value items,” explained Kang. “In addition, by joining the online marketplace, major retailers have also helped enhance its credibility and reliability—directly stimulating and boosting online marketplace sales,” he concluded.


About GfK

GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their competitive edge and enrich consumers’ experiences and choices.

For more information, please visit or follow GfK on Twitter:

4th European Parliament of Enterprises: 700+ entrepreneurs stand up for Europe

“The time has come for businesses to reiterate their capacity and willingness to provide solutions to the challenges of today: globalisation, unemployment, unfair competition, migration and climate change.”  With these words EUROCHAMBRES` Chairman Richard Weber inaugurated the fourth edition of the European Parliament of Enterprises, gathering more than 700 entrepreneurs in the Hemicycle of the European Parliament in Brussels.

During the subsequent debates and votes on trade, the single market, sustainability and skills, companies called for EU policies allowing them to contribute addressing these challenges while being able to compete globally.

Entrepreneurs also rose to their feet to demonstrate their belief in the European project.  Two thirds of them indicated that Brexit would harm their business.

High-level institutional representatives – including European Parliament Vice-President Antonio Tajani, European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and Ivan Kor?ok State Secretary of Slovakia – engaged with the entrepreneurs and acknowledged their demands for a more business-friendly policy environment.

EUROCHAMBRES will follow-up on the outcomes of the event to ensure that the voice of business resonates loudly along the corridors of power in Brussels and beyond.



1.     Are entrepreneurs sufficiently aware about the commercial implications of EU trade agreements? 92% NO

An overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs today expressed that they are insufficiently aware of the commercial implications of EU trade agreements. Policy makers should treat this as a warning sign to do more on the implementation side of trade together with the business community, so that benefits do not remain on paper, but translate into real jobs and real economic growth.


2.     Should SMEs have a stronger say in EU trade policy? 95% YES

The call could not be louder, as today a huge majority of entrepreneurs expressed that SMEs need a stronger say in the EU’s trade policy. Trade negotiators thus need to pay special attention to smaller businesses and ensure adequate representation of this constituency. A rigorous application of the “ think small first” principle throughout and across trade agreements is the starting point.


3.     Will the granting of the market economy status to China have negative effects on European businesses? 80% YES

Entrepreneurs are worried about the negative effects that EU business might experience as a result of granting market economy status to China. It seems imperative that policy makers retain the tools at their disposal to shield affected companies from damaging dumping or subsidies.


4.     Do rules of origin need to be simplified in order to increase the benefits of EU free trade agreements? 86% YES

Entrepreneurs today issued a clear verdict that the current system of rules of origin in EU trade agreements needs to be simplified. Failure to do so would impede many businesses, especially smaller ones, from profiting from tariff liberalisation.


5.     In view of current criticism of potential trade agreements with the USA (TTIP) and Canada (CETA), does an effective EU trade policy matter to the competitiveness of your business? 94% YES

Clearly trade matters for ordinary businesses! The value of the EU negotiating trade deals collectively on behalf of all EU Member States is acknowledged by the business community.




1.     Do national governments do enough to tackle the problem of late payments between public bodies and business? 83% NO

A majority of European entrepreneurs take the view that the regulation on late payments is not having adequate impact. It implies that rather than legislation, the business culture, economic conditions and power imbalances in the market are the driving factors of payment behaviour, and more should be done to address them.


2.     Is the Single Market sufficiently integrated, allowing your company to operate and compete freely? 87% NO

Companies’ perception of the Single Market has worsened since the same question was asked in 2014. The slow and sometimes incomplete implementation of directives, the inadequacy of certain instruments, the persistence of some barriers to cross-border trade and investment combine to create the obstacles that bar entrepreneurs from capitalising on the full potential of the single market. A wake-up call to the European Commission and Member States.


3.     Do administrative, legislative or fiscal exemptions discourage businesses from scaling up their activities? 82% YES

SMEs must be treated as the rule, not the exception in policy-making at EU and national level. With 99% of businesses in the EU being SMEs, it is essential that legislation is conceived from their point of view, in accordance with the “Think Small First” principle. This would avoid the disincentives to company expansion that exemptions sometimes unintentionally create.


4.     Is a lack of information on rules and requirements a significant obstacle to trading in other EU member states? 88% YES

This demonstrates that there is still a long way to go in terms of assisting companies in their plans to expand throughout the EU. Small businesses don’t have the resources to deal with the current patchwork of rules. In the absence of a fully-fledged single market, companies should at least have access to accurate and succinct information about local rules.


5.     I search for finance across the EU, not only in my own country 51% NO

This split outcome suggests a diverse financial landscape in Europe. Half of entrepreneurs only use national financing either through choice or necessity, while half look beyond their own country. Much needs to be done to create a genuine ‘capital markets union’.


6.     Do you agree that online traders should be legally obliged to sell to consumers throughout the EU? 59% NO

With a mixed vote, businesses point out that they cherish what the single market has to offer and that they want to trade beyond the borders of their home market. Even if it is the Commission’s objective to allow better access for consumers and business to online goods and services across Europe, it is highly questionable whether imposing an obligation to sell is the correct way to go about it since it fails to address the underlying barriers to cross-border trading.




1.     Are national support schemes an adequate instrument to support renewables? 59% NO

The outcome of the vote revealed divided views among entrepreneurs, mainly caused by different national situations. While some voters anticipate significant efficiency gains by harmonising support schemes for renewables, others fear that a European approach could raise the relatively low energy prices in their countries.

2.     Should energy audits become mandatory for SMEs? 74% NO

Entrepreneurs clearly oppose mandatory energy audits for SMEs. Although small businesses consider it helpful that standards and management tools are promoted, it should be left to the entrepreneur to decide which instrument to use.
3.     Do you expect the EU economy to benefit from the measures proposed in the Circular Economy Package? 85% YES

Entrepreneurs are fully committed to closing the loop. Most elements of the package are considered vital in bringing the circular economy project forward. It is now up to the European institutions to turn the strategy into legislation that will ultimately benefit the environment while at the same time creating jobs and growth in Europe.

4.     Would more complex environmental design standards undermine the global competitiveness of European products? 82% YES

Entrepreneurs fear that excessive design standards could limit the innovative capacity of European businesses and put them behind international competitors. It is thus crucial to find a balance between such standards and entrepreneurial freedom that allows innovation, unique product design and high quality.
5.     Do you believe there is significant demand for more green products? 86% YES

The positive vote confirms that markets for environmentally friendly goods are growing and suggests that consumers increasingly opt for green products. As high demand is the most effective driver for green investments, the EU and national governments should increase their efforts to promote sustainable lifestyles.
6.     Should there be mandatory environmental criteria in public procurement? 71% YES

Entrepreneurs want environmental criteria to be factored into public procurement procedures. This confirms that most EU businesses are willing to provide information about the high sustainability standards of their products and processes. In many cases, the consideration of ‘green criteria’ even provides a competitive advantage vis-?-vis producers from third countries.
1.     Should work-based learning be integral to all initial vocational education & training programmes? 98% YES

This vote confirms the importance that the business community attaches to combining practical experience with theory. Few students, even in vocational training (VET), currently have the opportunity to spend time in a company. Parallel measures to increase the attractiveness and visibility of work-based learning are needed.

2.     Would you be willing to host a refugee in your business as a trainee or apprentice? 90% YES

The vast majority of the MEPEs are ready to host a refugee in their business. Some of them are already doing so. Apart from the humanitarian benefit, EU entrepreneurs recognise that welcoming refugees is also potentially beneficial to their business as they seek to fill vacancies and address specific skills requirements, significant challenges in some member states due to demographic changes. Now structures need to be put in place to allow this to happen.

3.     Is it harder to recruit staff with the right skills than five years ago? 75% YES

18% more entrepreneurs voted ‘yes’ on this questions compared to the 2010 edition of the EPE. This reveals a growing skills mismatch and an alarming policy failure given that the EU is still struggling to overcome high levels of unemployment, particularly among young people.

4.     Is a "skills guarantee” an efficient tool in reducing unemployment? 55% YES

The mixed outcome suggests that while entrepreneurs are worried about the high number of low skilled adults, only a small majority believes that a “skills guarantee” is an effective response to this problem.

5.     Should entrepreneurship education be introduced at all levels of formal education? 94% YES

MEPEs want a firm commitment from EU member states to introduce entrepreneurial skills training in the curricula of all forms and levels of education. Entrepreneurship is a skill that can be learnt and can be of benefit to all, not just future entrepreneurs.

6.     Does a lack of transparency between national qualification systems discourage you from employing staff from other Member States? 64% YES

This vote underlines that differences between education and training systems in the EU make it difficult for employers to assess the knowledge and skills of people with a qualification from another country. Efforts are required to improve transparency between different member states’ qualifications, both general and vocational.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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