Cheil Worldwide has published an interesting study of the spending habits of Korean consumers and how they've changed over the past 10 years. Koreans are a consumption-friendly lot, with high penetration levels for credit cards, mobile phones, imported cars and the like. Purchases of skin-care products are on the rise. And, as the study puts it, they're constantly upgrading their lifestyle.
One very common upgrade has been the purchase of refrigerators specially designed to maintain kimchi, the fermented vegetables that Koreans eat three meals a day. In 2001, you could find one in about 10% of households. By 2008 that figure was up to about 70%. The study attributes that surge to an increasing number of Korean women who are working, leaving less and less time for them to pickle their vegetables. These refrigerators, which can cost several thousand dollars and are made by a host of companies, keep kimchi at the right temperature so it lasts longer.
Here's a spot for one model, a Samsung Hauzen, featuring actress Lee Da Hae:
Drinking trends in Korea have changed, with consumption of soju, a rice-based liquor, up and beer down. The study attributes this to women quaffing more soju, which tastes like a sweet vodka. To entice women drinkers, soju marketers have decreased the alcohol content.
A full version of the study doesn't appear to be posted online, but you can email me, at mcreamer (at) adage.com for a press-release summary of the findings.