South Korea’s alcohol market boomed during the pandemic, and apparently the country’s singletons living on their own might have made a sizable contribution to the growth, according to a government policy research institute.
According to the Korea Rural Economic Institute’s report that analyzed the Statistics Korea’s data from 2021, singles living on their own would spend 10.6% of their food spending on alcohol, compared with 7.3% spent by households with two or more people.
Additionally, young people living alone spend the highest amount on booze, according to the report. Singletons in their 20s and 30s in particular are the biggest spenders on alcohol, with 15.6% of their food budget going into alcohol.
In Korea, with declining birth rate and low marriage rate, single-person households already rose to account for one third of all households, with people in their 20s and 30s constituted the largest age groups of single-person households.
Among all the alcoholic beverages, beer was the most popular go-to beverage. It’s also the drink of choice for households in the top 20% by income, whereas the traditionally distilled spirit Soju remains a favorite among low-income households.
The report also found that residents’ monthly spending on booze has gone up. By 2021, monthly spending on alcoholic drinks reached 17,449 won (US$14), up 11.3%.
During the pandemic, Korea’s alcohol sales boomed, thanks to changing habit of home consumption and the country’s relaxed law on online alcohol sales.
Wine imports alone last year surpassed the US$500 million mark for the first time to reach US$560 million, up by 70% over 2020, as we have reported.