Korean men in their 20s have emerged as a fast-rising consumer segment in the luxury goods market.
Department stores are coming up with tailored marketing strategies to lure this left-field demographic.
Online shopping mall Gmarket said sales of high-end tote bags to men in their 20s surged a whopping 386 percent in the first quarter of this year. Sales of luxury watches and jackets to the demographic also jumped 227 percent and 106 percent.
At Lotte Department Store, luxury goods sales to 20-something men rose 50 percent this year, at Hyundai Department Store 29.6 percent, at Shinsegae Department Store 29 percent and at Galleria Department Store 33 percent.
Customer numbers are also up. According to Shinsegae the number of men in their 20s who bought luxury products rose 35.2 percent on-year in the first quarter. Sohn Moon-kook at Shinsegae said, "As more and more men marry later in their lives, once they start making a bit of money they're not shy about spending it on themselves".
But overall they still account for a tiny proportion of department store sales. At Hyundai the group accounted for only 3.1 percent of overall sales last year. But the steady growth still makes them attractive to retailers.
Display windows are changing to appeal to them. Last year, Lotte opened luxury goods stores catering to consumers in their 20s like MSGM and Off-White at its high-end Avenuel store.
A Lotte staffer said, "We opened up these brand stores after shutting down traditional luxury brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Philipp Plein".
Department stores are sending their buyers all over the world to look for shoes and clothes that are popular among young men. They often bring back limited-edition models that can cause long queues outside of flush young men ready to snap them up.
Chae Kyung-rak at Galleria said, "Men in their 20s nowadays appear to be buying limited-edition products in order to prove their worth".
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"20-Something Men Embrace Label Fashions"
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