Many Koreans seem to be atoning for not visiting their families this Chuseok by sending them expensive gifts instead.
Hyundai Department Store took orders for Chuseok gifts from Aug. 14 till Sept. 11 and found that sales of top-quality meat surged 99 percent on-year, of imported food 226 percent and wine and traditional liquor 105 percent.
Shin Hyun-koo at Hyundai Department Store said, “As the coronavirus crisis continues, it appears that people are trying to show their remorse for being unable to travel to their ancestral home towns by buying gifts.”
The government temporarily eased the anti-graft law and raised the limit on farm produce gifts from W100,000 to W200,000 per person to aid farmers amid the crisis (US$1=W1,187). That resulted in retailers increasing their offers of premium gift packages by 20 to 30 percent compared to previous Chuseok holidays.
E-mart took orders for Chuseok gifts from Aug. 13 until Sept. 10 and said sales of gift packages costing over W200,000 surged 40.1 percent on-year, while those of gift packages costing less than that grew only 19.3 percent.
Retailers have been quick to meet surging demand. Lotte Department Store prepared 100 packages of top-quality Korean beef that cost W1.7 million each, and Hyundai Department Store rolled out W45,000 bottles of olive oil extracted from trees that are more than 1,000 years old.
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