UPDATE : 2017.11.16 목 11:07

[Vol. 74] Korean Black Friday was just gray

박주은 기자l승인2015.12.10l수정2015.12.10 01:03

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  Have you heard about "Black Friday?" "Black Friday" originated from shopping in America the  day after Thanksgiving Day. Then, do you know when Korea's Black Friday was held recently? If you do not know about it, that is reasonable. The government declared to implement the plans of Korean Black Friday in August as a promotion of consumption. Korean Black Friday was held from the end of last September to mid-October. Run by the government, it started for the purpose of raising the sales during the off-season that follows Chuseok thorgh participation of department stores and major supermarkets.

  According to research of The Ministry of Strategy and Finance and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, incomes of companies from ‘Korean Black Friday’ has increased about 719.4 billion won (20.7%) from October 1st to 14th, compared to almost the same period (from October 2nd to 15th last year). This is evaluated as a high success even though it was the first implementation with many obstacles.

  As for department stores, the amount of increase is 269.9 billion won. It is 24.0% more than the one in the same period of last year. The profit of online-shopping malls increased 216.1 billion won (28.9%), and convenient store marks 165.4billion won (36.3%). For electronics stores, the amount of increase is 35.3 billion won (20.9%), and the increase in large supermarkets is 35.7billion won (3.6%). And, the number of foreigners entering the country has turned a rising trend since MERS happened.
  
  However, there is a criticism that the effect of the event is exaggerated. The main evidence are following here. First, last Chuseok holidays are from the 7th~10th of September while this Chuseok holiday occurred during the 26th~29th of September when it is just before Korean Black Friday.  Therefore, the increase of the sales is considered as natural outcome. Specifically, the period for spending vouchers and sales events are overlapped. Next thing is You-ke marketing. The Chinese national holiday is October 1st, which is during the event time. So, critics point out that the outcome in fact, is affected by Chinese rather than Korean citizens.

  Some people might think like this. "Anyway, it did succeed because the outcome is good. Then isn’t it a good event?” However, many problems are hidden in different aspects. First, the problem is that the increase of sales is concentrated on major companies such as department stores while it wasn’t even noticed to vendors of traditional markets. Second, a problem is the lack of a preparation period. And, despite that, it was implemented in haste. This is because the government was hurried to resolve reduced spending by MERS and an economic crisis from China. The government was so hurried that it presented detail plans just ten days before the event. So, many department stores and other main participating companies could not have enough time to vary the sale items and sale rates. As a result, they were below consumers’ expectations. Next, another problem is the fact that there is scarce manufacturing factories that participated. Different from America and Europe which go with manufacturing businesses as the center, Korean Black Friday had a big disadvantage in that distribution companies mainly proceed it. As much, commissions of distribution laid a burden on manufacturing companies. For some of the manufacturing companies, it couldn’t be a festival, but another shape of adversity. In other words, American large supermarkets buy products in quantity directly so they often sell the remaining products which are not sold. On the other hand, our market structure is where each merchant brings products to department stores or super markets, that is, ‘commission distribution market.’

  Recently as an extension of the event, 'K-SALE DAY' was held from November 20th to December 5th. The difference from Korean Black Friday is the change of a main agent, from the government to the private organization. So in this event, it advertised that Samsung Electronics and Cheil industries participated, which are manufacturing companies. Unfortunately, it also had a shortcoming. It rode its own brand for sales free of charge and each stores laid emphasis on their own sales event. In this flood of sales events, consumers are confused and distrust sales event may increase. How can this be treated?

  The government is planning to settle the event representing Korea, under the judgment that Korea acquired a significant effect from Black Friday shopping festivals. Meanwhile, it is agreed to compensate the problems pointed out during the event. It promised to do so following three points – providing sufficient preparation time, expanding participation of manufacturing companies, and enlarging support to traditional markets and small business owners. But, though its agent isn't the government, K-SALE DAY appeared as a second version of the former sales event leaving still no little faults. So as to enforce Black Friday according to plans, it would require a lot of preparation from now on. If not, it could bring another problem if the current one is left unmodified. And we, as consumers, must critically examine these events, and should strive to efficiently consume for us. Here is one question to consider: Do many sales events 'really' help save our money or just play with our psychology?


박주은 기자  95jeun@blue.knue.ac.kr
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