South Korean budget clothing brands win approval from consumers amid economic recession

By Park Sae-jin Posted : December 26, 2023, 14:44 Updated : December 26, 2023, 14:53
Courtesy of SPAO
[Courtesy of SPAO]
SEOUL -- South Korean SPA (specialty retailer of private label apparel) garnered popularity among consumers amid the economic recession induced by high interest rates and increased material prices. Sales of domestic budget clothing brands operated by major retailers increased compared to 2022.

South Korean consumers recognize SPA brands as clothing brands that sell reasonable-quality apparel for affordable prices. Consumers in their 20s favor buying clothes from SPA brands because fashion trends change quickly, and many find it better to buy affordable clothes for each season rather than to spend big money on luxury brand clothing and fall behind fashion trends.

South Korea's SPA market which stood at 20.6 trillion won ($15.8 billion) in 2022 is estimated to reach 22.7 billion won by 2077, according to global market analyst firm Statista. As of 2022, the SPA market is led by Japanese brand UNIQLO with annual sales of 803.6 billion won, followed by TOPTEN operated by South Korean retailer Shinsung Group with 780 billion won, and SPAO, operated by fashion conglomerate Eland, was ranked third with annual sales of 400 billion won.

According to Eland on December 26, SPAO's sales in 2023 stood at 480 billion won, up 20 percent compared to 2022. The retailer said that sales of light down jackets, fleece jackets, and puffer jackets increased 357 percent, 52 percent, and 30 percent on-year respectively. The company plans to increase the number of offline stores to up to 145 in 2024 from 108 in 2023.

8Seconds, a SPA fashion brand operated by Samsung C&T Corporation, said that its accumulated sales between January and November 2023 increased by 10 percent compared to the same period last year, thanks to premium clothing lineups. TOPTEN also attracted more customers than last year. About 1.3 million underwear was sold in 2023, up 259 percent on-year. TOPTEN's kids' clothing lineups became popular. 720,000 Children's loungewear was sold.
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