South Korea's e-commerce sales grew 12.5 percent to reach 276.1 trillion won (US$254 billion) in the third quarter, compared to the year before.
Despite the increase, this was the slowest growth in the last three years since 2009 when the country was in the midst of an economic recession, according to data from Statistics Korea (KOSTAT), the Maeil Business Newspaper reported Tuesday.
Sluggish economic activities not only slowed down business-to-business (B2B) transactions, they also led to lower transaction value which KOSTAT said had lost growth momentum with no sign of an increase after the previous rapid growth.
For business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions in the third quarter, sales jumped by a "disappointing" 10.6 percent quarter-on-quarter to 8 trillion won (US$7.3 billion). This was the weakest growth since the first quarter of 2009 when growth was 5.8 percent, it added.
Specifically, there were both declines and increases in sales for different B2C categories in the third quarter compared to the year before. Segments which saw declines were software by 23.4 percent; albums, video and entertainment by 10.7 percent; and flowers by 4.1 percent. Those which saw increased sales were travel and booking services by 30.9 percent; food and beverage by 25 percent; and home appliances, electronic and telecommunication devices by 15.5 percent.
Widely recognized for its high Internet penetration rate and IT-savvy population, South Korea last month topped a global list ranking countries on their level of ICT access, use and skills. According to the International Telecommunication Union, Korea had the highest percentage of Internet-connected households at 67 percent. Its mobile broadband and fixed broadband penetration rates both clocked at 84 percent.