China's Aliexpress becomes S. Korea's most-downloaded ecommerce app in February

By Park Sae-jin Posted : April 4, 2023, 10:41 Updated : April 4, 2023, 10:41

[Courtesy of Aliexpress]

SEOUL -- Aliexpress, an online shopping mall app service operated by China's online shopping giant Alibaba, was the most-downloaded ecommerce app in South Korea in February, overtaking Karrot, a South Korean secondhand item trading app with some 18 million monthly active users.
Karrot, also known as Danggeun Market, was launched in 2015 as a secondhand item trading platform that matches sellers and buyers who live within a radius of about six kilometers (3.7 miles). The app garnered extreme popularity over the years gaining some 32 million accumulated registered users. About 18 million users use the Karrot app at least once a month.
The secondhand trading app brought a phenomenon to South Korea with a population of about 52 million by revitalizing the secondhand market. It is common to see people giving away items that are no longer used for free. Some people go on "treasure hunts" on Karrot looking for antiques or unique items that are hard to get. Karrot has kept its place as the most-downloaded ecommerce app in South Korea for 35 months in a row from May 2020 until February 2023.
According to data released by IGAWorks, an online market analyst firm, Aliexpress was downloaded 682,232 times through Apple and Google's smartphone app store in February. Karrot was the second most-downloaded app with 585,541 downloads. The analyst firm speculated that recent aggressive marketing by Aliexpress attracted a lot of online shoppers.
The international shopping platform operated by Alibaba opened a customer service center in South Korea in 2018 and aggressively rolled out promotions to attract more customers. The company partnered with CJ Logistics, one of South Korea's top parcel delivery service operators, to offer faster international shipping.
Aliexpress recently selected Ma Dong-seok, an action film actor also known by the English name of Don Lee, as the company's endorsement model to increase its recognition among young shoppers.
In an interview with South Korean state news agency Yonhap News, a high official of Aliexpress' Seoul branch said that the Chinese shopping mall platform operator plans to invest some 100 billion won ($76.4 million) into the South Korean ecommerce market to attract more customers. Aliexpress will focus on shortening the time taken for international shipping by reducing the average days taken for delivery from up to two weeks to three to five days.
The Chinese shopping mall app's success is followed by a steady increase in "Jikgoo" shoppers. Jikgoo, which is a Korean abbreviation meaning direct shopping from overseas online malls, became a huge shopping trend over the last five years. A total of about 96,120 Jikgoo orders worth $47.2 million were made to overseas shopping malls including Amazon, Aliexpress, and eBay in 2022, according to the South Korean customs office. The customs office predicted that the number of Jikgoo will exceed 100 million orders and five billion dollars. 
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