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Shopping Tourism in Seoul

Jeonghwa PanㆍSujin Kim


Shopping tourism is the purchase of products in the course of a city tour, as well as accompanying activities like eating foods. Shopping tourism is not merely the idea of buying items that one needs a leisure activity that is important motivational factor to boost tourism. Engaging in shopping is integral to enhancing the tour experience.

The increasing number of foreign tourists and the emerging value of shopping tourism in Seoul have led to an increase in foreign tourists visiting Seoul for the purpose of shopping. Types of shopping, places to shop and preferred products vary with consumer trends.

In this study, we investigated foreign tourists’ behavior through analysis of characteristics and actual conditions of shopping tourism in Seoul. The subjects surveyed were tourists who considered "shopping" as the main purpose of their visit. The characteristics of tourists were examined through quantitative and qualitative research methods. The survey was carried out in Gimpo and Incheon International Airports between December 2014 and January 2015. There were 1,045 respondents for the quantitative survey, and 50 for the qualitative survey. Main shopping facilities were classified based on 7 categories. Places to shop, items purchased and customer satisfaction in each facility were also analyzed. In addition, a comparative study between Seoul and other cities was conducted based on tourism policy and the shopping environment.

The survey findings showed that Chinese tourists spent the most money i.e. an average of 2,130,000 won, while Japanese tourists spent the least money i.e. an average of 330,000 won per visitor. In terms of expenditures by facilities, the duty-free shop in the downtown area was among the highest, but preference for roadside shops or large discount stores was increasing. Cosmetics, clothes and foods were the most preferred products. Main shopping places included Myeong-dong, Namdaemun and Dongdaemun, which are the downtown areas, and these have gradually extended to Hongik University(Hongdae) and Garosu-gil in Gangnam-gu. The quality and design of products were ranked as the most common points of customer satisfaction, while human services was ranked the lowest due to the tendency of 'hard sell' sales techniques and a general reluctance to offer refunds. Tourism policy and the overall shopping environment in Seoul are competitive with other Asian countries, particularly in terms of price, variety and quality of products.



01 Introduction

1_Background and purpose

2_Content and method


02 What is shopping tourism?

1_Importance of shopping tourism

2_Competitiveness of shopping tourism

3_Characteristics shopping tourism cities


03 Shopping tourism environment in Seoul

1_Tourism policy and shopping tourism in Seoul

2_Characteristics of the shopping tourist

3_Shopping tourism policy in Seoul


04 Shopping tourism survey in Seoul

1_Survey outline

2_Purchasing behaviors of shopping tourists

3_Shopping behaviors by facilities

4_Sopping tourism policy

5_Shopping tourism environment competitiveness

6_Shopping tourist's interviews


05 Findings and implications

1_Features of shopping tourism markets in Seoul

2_Implications for shopping tourism policy