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5 Facts About South Korean Digital Market

Updated: May 14, 2020

South Korea is one of the most digitally connected countries in the world. The East Asian nation enjoys the highest internet speed and the internet penetration rate of the country is over 95%. Here are 5 facts to take into account if you are considering entering the Korean digital market or planning to launch a digital marketing campaign in South Korea.

Fact 1. Naver is the most visited website.

Naver is the biggest local portal site. Naver is visited by over 29 million people on a daily basis. Also Naver is the second most installed and used mobile app after KakaoTalk. The market share of Naver is 58% followed by Google 35%, Kakao (Daum) 6%, and other search engines and portal sites. Google has been expanding its Korean market growth significantly since 2017. One of the main reasons why Korean people use Naver is that the portal site customized with a local friendly user interface. However, its search engine performance is not great as Naver has been focusing on expanding its ad revenue while neglecting its search engine quality improvement. But the fact is that still Naver is the most visited and used website in South Korea and being present on Naver is very important to attract consumers to your business.


Fact 2. KakaoTalk is the most used messenger.

KakaoTalk is the most installed and most used messenger in South Korea. The market share of the Korean messenger is 96% followed by Facebook messenger and others. Almost every Korean person uses KakaoTalk to chat. In recent years Kakao Corporation has been adding a number of functions such as news, shopping, search engine, and other functions to the messenger leveraging Daum, South Korea’s third-biggest portal site. So, an increasing number of people are using KakaoTalk not only to chat but also to read the news, searching, shopping, or entertaining.


*Kakao is a Korean internet company founded in 2010 and headquartered in Jeju city. The corporation was formed as a result of the merger between Daum Communication and Kakao.


Fact 3. YouTube is the most used media. MAU (monthly active users) of YouTube is over 33 million in South Korea. The global video-sharing platform is mostly used by the age group of 10~20 years old (monthly average 41 hours), 20~30 years old (monthly average 31 hours), 30~40 years old (monthly average 18 hours), 40~50 years old (monthly average 14 hours) and 50~60 years old (monthly average 20 hours). An interesting fact is the senior age group (50~60 years old)’s the average time spent on YouTube is the second-highest after 10~20 years old. YouTube grew over 30% YoY in 2019 and is continuing to expand its market share in South Korea.


Fact 4. Internet penetration is 96%.

As of 2020, the population of South Korea is 51.25 million. And the number of internet users stands at around 49.21 million. That makes the country with one of the highest internet penetration rate-96%. The global internet penetration rate is 59%. 96% of internet penetration makes the East Asian nation one of the highly connected countries in the world. Meanwhile, the number of active social media users is 44.73 million with 87% of penetration.


Fact 5. A credit card is a No.1 preferred payment method for online shopping.

74% of people who have purchased consumer goods online use credit cards as their main payment method. Meanwhile, the usage of cash is going down each year. Only 2% of people pay by cash for online shopping. Bank transfer and e-wallet account for 11% each while other payment methods stand at around 2%. 64.5% of online shopping transactions came from mobile in 2019 and the number keeps increasing.


South Korea is definitely an attractive digital market. In 2019, Korean people spent around KRW 11.8 trillion (USD 11 billion) on online shopping. That is a 15.4% YoY increase. A significant number of businesses in South Korea are allocating a bigger budget for digital marketing while decreasing their budget on traditional advertising. Digital Marketing is the most effective, measurable, and sales-driven method to grow your brand in South Korea.



Data source: globalwebindex.com, Korea Statistics, Wiseapp.

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