• Top 5 eCommerce Websites in Korea

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    Korea is a highly digitized and developed market where eCommerce has been around for since long back. In 2021, the eCommerce market is expected to become the third-biggest in the world, just behind China and the US.

    With a strong purchasing power and a population of around 60 million, it’s not strange that many foreign brands want to enter the market.

    Interestingly, most of the most popular eCommerce websites in Korea are less known in many foreign countries. Amazon, Lazada, and Tmall are far more common names in the eCommerce industry.

    Entering the Korean eCommerce market can be challenging due to language issues and the limited information available about marketplaces. Therefore, we have written this article where we present the most popular eCommerce websites in Korea.

    Let’s start with the most popular option.

    1. G-Market

    G-Market has kept the position as the biggest eCommerce marketplace in Korea and was established in 2000. The website was later acquired by eBay in 2009 that inevitably helped the company to expand even further. Today, 64% of the Korean population uses the website for online-purchases.

    Interestingly, G-Market was the first Korean online-company to be listed on the NASDAQ in 2006 and it also offered its first website in English at the time. Popular products on the website include:

    • Fashion & Clothing
    • Accessories
    • Cosmetics and Beauty Products
    • Food and Beverages
    • Mom and Baby
    • Health/Diet
    • Electronics

    Being the biggest eCommerce platform in Korea, you can almost find any kinds of products here. So how does G-Market earn money from sellers?

    First, they claim a fee depending on the sales price and also a fee which is based on the start price. They also make revenues from advertising services offered to sellers.

    Worth mentioning is that eBay has not only got a dominant role in the Korean eCommerce market landscape by acquiring, but they also own Auction.co (see below) and G9, Korea’s first curation service.

    2. 11Street

    11Street is a well-known and widely used eCommerce platform in Korea and Malaysia. With that said, many buyers and sellers outside the countries have rarely heard of the website. 11Street Korea is currently owned by SK Planet that was founded in 2011.

    11Street become the most visited eCommerce platform in Korea in 2016, but later lost that position to G-Market explained above.

    While 11Street is not the first option among cross-border eCommerce sellers in Asia but has a wide product assortment, including:

    • Home and Furniture
    • Mom and Baby
    • Health/Diet
    • Electronics
    • Fashion & Clothing
    • Accessories
    • Cosmetics and Beauty Products
    • Food and Beverages

    In September 2017, 11Street officially launched its cross-border eCommerce platform and currently serves clients worldwide. 11Street was the second website launched in the Korean eCommerce market and has a monthly average monthly transaction amount of around USD 590 million.

    You will also find 55 million products and 200,000 sellers on the website. If you’re serious about your online market entry in Korea, G-Market and 11Street will probably be at the top of your list.

    3. Auction.co

    Auction.co was launched as early as 1998 and is owned by eBay, the same as G-Market mentioned above. As you can hear by its name, the company focuses on auctions, which is quite interesting.

    The website is only available in Korean and not English, it’s also not among the top options among foreign sellers who wish to enter the Asian market. Options such as Lazada (for Southeast Asia) and Tmall in China are more popular.

    Auction.co has numerous foreign brands on display, including examples such as:

    • Samsung
    • P&G
    • Dyson
    • Philips
    • LG
    • Microsoft
    • Asus
    • Lenovo

    For more information about the website and how the layout looks like, I recommend you to visit Auction.co.kr directly. They help sellers with onboarding and customer support, thus, it can be worthwhile contacting them by phone or email.

    4. Interpark.com

    Interpark is both an online auction and shopping website that was founded as early as 1996. Since 2014, the website has also been involved in the entertainment and music industries where it acts as a record distributor.

    The company launched an international version in English of the website in 2014, operating in Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese. Interestingly, the platform can ship to 230 countries, meaning that you can be placed almost anywhere in the world and receive orders from Interpark.

    Product categories that can be found on the website include:

    • Collectibles
    • Appliances
    • Computers
    • Furniture
    • Equipment
    • Vehicles
    • Food
    • Tickets
    • Clothes
    • Jewelry

    You can found around 47 million products and 20 million members on the website, making it comparatively small to websites like Tmall and Lazada, for example. With that said, it’s undoubtedly one of the most popular eCommerce websites in Korea.

    5. Coupang.com

    Coupang is one of the biggest online retailers in Korea and was founded in 2010. The company has annual revenues of around USD 6 billion and it’s widely known for its developed distribution network, offering same-day or next-day deliveries.

    Major investors in the company include Softbank, which invested as much as USD 2 billion in Coupang 2018, Blackrock, and Fidelity. With 37,000 employees, it’s a large-sized player that has grown significantly since its inception.

    Operating in one of the top 3 eCommerce markets in the world, it’s not strange that Coupang aims for an IPO in 2021.

    Interestingly, 70% of all the Koreans live within 10 minutes of a Coupang logistics center, which makes last-mile deliveries flawless. Coupang can deliver packages by 7 AM as long as buyers place orders before midnight the day before. That’s even quicker than the next-day delivery services offered by Amazon.

    Thanks to strong backing by SoftBank, Coupang has become one of the biggest eCommerce marketplaces in Korea with an evaluation of around USD 9 billion.

    FAQ

    Below I have included some commonly asked questions and our replies.

    How big is Korea’s eCommerce market?

    Korea’s eCommerce market will soon be the third-biggest in the world with a total value of around USD 115 billion in 2019. Only China and the US, two significantly larger countries, are ahead of Korea.

    What is the Korean version of Amazon?

    Coupang is referred to as “Korea’s Amazon” thanks to its vast market-size and huge backing. The website grows at an impressive rate and has a local market share of around 24.6%.

    Is Amazon popular in Korea?

    Amazon is not widely used in Korea. Instead, local eCommerce platforms like G-Market, Coupang, and 11Street are more popular.

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