It has been 6 months since the first coronavirus was found in Korea in January 2020. Koreans have been doing a great job to manage the virus spread. However, coronavirus seem to remain here with us longer than we expected. Now, people are adapting to life with this virus.
Wearing personal protection gear
In Korea, wearing a face mask is nothing to do with your political opinion. It is just a matter of public health. Koreans understand that a face mask is the most effective and simplest way to protect yourself and others from the vicious virus. You can find everyone wearing mask in public space. Particularly, you should wear face mask in closed spaces such as elevators and public transportation.
At the same time, more and more people are using plastic gloves to protect their hands from the virus. on public transport and in elevators. They do not want to risk exposure to the virus by touching buttons with their bare fingers. Many people push the buttons and the public is concerned that they might be contaminated with the virus. Washing hands has become the new protocol in the daily lives of Koreans. Hand sanitizers are available in all public places such as the bus, subway stations and elevators.
Koreans have great passion for children’s education. Koreans have never been satisfied with the public education system and spend a lot of money for private education for their children. The market size of the private education sector in Korea is around USD 20 Billion or 1.3% of GDP.
The private education industry is trying to find ways to survive in the non-contact era caused by the virus. It is easy to find educational institutions providing tutoring services through video conference systems. Supaja (www.supaja.com) is a one-on-one math tutoring service provider for K-12 students. Online tutoring services are not very popular in Korea yet. However, these service providers are gaining positive feedback from users. Students can get assistance from tutors without worrying about coronavirus infection.
Violinist Yeseul is giving a lesson to a student in the US
Source: Yeseul Voilin (https://blog.naver.com/yeseul10/222001519044)
Online tutoring has also been spreading quickly in the adult private education market after the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. Many musical instrument lessons are delivered online. It is different from online classes on Youtube. Teachers give real-time one-on-one lessons for students who want to practice musical instruments such as violin and piano. The students need a couple of webcams, a microphone and a computer or smartphone. The feedback from the students on this type of tutoring is relatively positive. Online lessons are not as effective as face to face ones, but they work a lot better than they expected. Better devices and systems for supporting this market are likely to be available soon.
Many Koreans are shifting from using fitness centers to home training. They want to keep exercising but fitness centers are not safe place in the coronavirus era. They are using home trainers’ clips on Youtube and some customers receive real time lessons from weight trainers. The real-time trainer provides weight training skills and discipline to exercise consistently. Home training and online trainers are good alternatives to visiting the gym.
Video conferences have become the new norm among businesspeople. Many government officials ask not to visit them physically and do online meetings instead. Many conglomerates are implementing online meetings instead of face to face ones. Many other small and medium size businesses tend to follow the business practices of larger companies and government offices. As the coronavirus has remained with us longer than we expected, emergency measures are becoming the new normal.
Korea has a small and open economy. Many global companies have offices and production facilities in Korea. As the coronavirus spread, it became difficult for head office managers to visit Korea physically. Some of them are seeking more effective ways to manage local organization in Korea. One good solution is hiring a local, third-party manager. The third-party manager should have good communication capability with local people and head office as well. The manager should have managerial capability to deal with local staff.
According to Nielson Korea, Korean consumers are buying more online than before the coronavirus spread. 38% of Korean consumers pick online sites as their main shopping channel while only 29% of them chose online channels before coronavirus.
Source: Nielsen Korea
92% of Korean consumers are utilizing online and offline shopping channels. 7% of consumers use only online channels while only 1% of consumers use only offline channels. According to the survey, more than 70% of consumers expressed satisfaction with online shopping and 59% are satisfied with offline shopping.
Koreans have spent more money than before to buy hand sanitizers (305%), packaged Kimchi (24%), ready to eat porridge (16%) and retort food (14%). In the cleaning items category, all-purpose cleaner (18%) and kitchen towels (13%) are the products that have grown the most since the coronavirus emerged. The choice of items seems to demonstrate that people stay home longer and focus more on home sanitization.
According to a survey from a local tour company, Koreans plan 5 days or visiting domestic destinations this summer. Jeju island is the most popular tourist destination for summer holidays this year, followed by Gyeongju and Gangneung.
The most important factor when choosing accommodation is cleanness. Hotels and resorts are the most popular accommodation types for Koreans vacationers this summer.
In May 2020, only 1.5 million people went to a movie theater in Korea, a 91.6% decrease year on year. On other side, Netflix’s revenue in April 2020 increased 2.4 times comparison to April 2019. In the first quarter of 2020, overall payment for internet services increased 22% yoy.