Note: This report includes forecasting data that is based on baseline historical data.
Seoul reports first Omicron cases in 3 foreign students on December 7, 2021.
The current population of the Republic of Korea is 51,332,971 (51.3 million) as of Monday, December 13, 2021.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in South Korea was worth 1630.53 billion US dollars in 2020, according to official data from the World Bank. The GDP value of South Korea represents 1.44% of the world economy.
GDP per capita was US$31610.92 in December, 2020.
|Q1 2020||Q2 2020||Q3 2020||Q4 2020||Q1 2021||Q2 2021||Q3 2021||Q4 2021||Q1 2022||Q2 2022||Q3 2022||Q4 2022|
Source: Euromonitor International, November 30, 2021
Note: Euromonitor's Recovery Index is a composite index which provides a quick overview of economic and consumer activity and helps businesses predict recovery in consumer demand in 48 major economies. The index takes into consideration total GDP and factors that determine consumer demand–employment, consumer spending, retail sales and consumer confidence. Index scores measure the change relative to the average per quarter for 2019, except for the Consumer Confidence Index, the base of which is the long-term historical average with length depending on country data availability.
A score of 100 and over indicates a full recovery in which consumer demand returns to 2019 levels.
The current population of the Republic of Korea is 51,332,971 (51.3 million) as of Monday, December 13, 2021, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data.
The GDP in South Korea was worth 1630.53 billion US dollars in 2020, according to official data from the World Bank. The GDP value of South Korea represents 1.44% of the world economy.
Inflation rate: 2.19% compared to 0.54% in 2020 (Statista).
Unemployment rate was 3.5% in 2021 vs 3.6% in 2020.
Consumer Price Index (CPI) in South Korea in November 2021: 109.41 compared with 108.97 in October, 2021.
Produce Price Index (PPI) in October, 2021: 111.27.
Figures for 2021 (Jan - October): Canadian agri-food and seafood exports to South Korea were valued at Can$583.2 million compared to Can$545.9 million in 2020, a 6.8% increase.
Canada's agri-food and seafood exports to South Korea in October 2021 were valued at Can$104.2 million, almost doubled the value of Can$53.5 million in October 2020.
Top 5 agri-food and seafood exports to South Korea in October 2021 were non-durum wheat (Can$18.4 million, low erucic acid rape or colza oil (Can$17.3 million), food preparations (Can$9.3 million), frozen boneless beef (Can$9.1 million), frozen pork ($5.5 million).
Supply chain disruptions
South Korea is ramping up efforts to identify and mitigate supply-chain risks as shortages and restrictions at key exporters loom large over the country's most important industries. The country's transformation into a major economic power has largely been propelled by exported chips, cars, appliances, ships and more. But as the U.S. and China decouple economically and with supply chains being disrupted around the world, South Korea is under intensifying pressure to better secure its supply of critical industrial materials. To this end, South Korea will launch a center dedicated to economic security and diplomacy under its foreign ministry as early as February. The ministry in its 2022 budget has set aside 2.55 billion South Korean won (US$2.16 million) for the center, slated initially to comprise about 10 researchers. Responding to "global shifts in supply chains," the center will ascertain which parts and materials the country relies on imports and suggest ways for South Korea to diversify its supply, the ministry said. It will also place staff at South Korean diplomatic missions in strategically significant countries to conduct research.
A similar team is expected to take shape under South Korea's National Intelligence Service, South Korean news outlets report. It will work with the foreign ministry center to obtain and analyze timely information regarding countries that provide key materials.
Other recovery indicators
The South Korea foodservice market is expected to witness a CAGR of 3.47% during the forecast period, 2021 - 2026.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a devastating impact in South Korea as the number of people eating out decreased, causing sharp declines in sales. However, the country has witnessed an increase of over 90% in online food product transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, but it continues to face trade-related challenges. According to a statement by the country's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), the online sales of food products rose by 92.5% in February when COVID-19 infections were at their peak in South Korea.
The food service industry and food processors are using new technologies to alleviate the burden of labour costs and sales declines due to Covid-19. Restaurants used to adopt robots primarily to serve customers, but they have now begun to use robots to cook in food service environments. A trend that may remain post-Covid-19.
Retail sales in South Korea increased 7.4% year-on-year in October of 2021, accelerating from a 3.7% rise in the prior month. It was the ninth straight month of gains in retail trade and accelerating to a fresh 3-month high. On a monthly basis, retail sales increased 0.2%, after rising 2.5% in the previous period.
The value of e-commerce sales in South Korea amounted to more than US$1.3 billion (159 trillion South Korean won) in 2020. The popularity of online shopping via different e-commerce channels has continuously grown over the last years. This was especially true in the last year due to the effects of COVID-19, as the South Korean e-commerce market growth experienced an unexpected increase amidst the ongoing downward trend since 2017.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) detected four major Korean consumption trends: "health, home, safety, and online. More people are looking for healthy functional food such as vitamin, ginseng, and fermented food to boost their immune system. E-commerce site Tmon reported sales of healthy functional food have risen by 140%."
In 2020, South Korean households spent an average of approximately US$2,719.63 (3.24 million South Korea per won) per year. A large portion of this was attributed to non-consumption expenditures, followed by food and drinks. These two categories also had the highest growth rate in retail sales in the last year. Due to social distancing rules implemented to combat the spread of COVID-19, South Korean consumers spent more time at home, leading to higher spending on groceries instead of eating out, home appliances, and furniture.
Koreans remain concerned about their income and job security, which continues to result into reduced spending.
For more information
The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service:
International Trade Commissioners can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions and local business contacts, and are an excellent point of contact for export advice.
More agri-food market intelligence:
International agri-food market intelligence
Discover global agriculture and food opportunities, the complete library of Global Analysis reports, market trends and forecasts, and information on Canada's free trade agreements.
Agri-food market intelligence service
Canadian agri-food and seafood businesses can take advantage of a customized service of reports and analysis, and join our email subscription service to have the latest reports delivered directly to their inbox.
More on Canada's agriculture and agri-food sectors:
Canada's agriculture sectors
Information on the agriculture industry by sector. Data on international markets. Initiatives to support awareness of the industry in Canada. How the department engages with the industry.
- Euromonitor 2021
- International Monetary Fund, Republic of Korea
- Global Trade Tracker, Data available by October, 2021
- Moody's Economic Indicators, November 2021
- Nikkei Asia, December, 2021: South Korea fights supply-chain risks with economic security team
- Statistics Korea (November 2021) Consumer Price Index 2021
- Statistics Korea 2021 (December, 2021): South Korea Retail Sales YoY
- Statista 2021: Average monthly expenditure per household in South Korea from 2017 to 2020
- The Korea Herald, December, 2021: Seoul reports first Omicron cases in 3 foreign students
- Statistics Korea (November 2021) : Online shopping transaction volume in South Korea from 2009 to 2020
- World Bank 2021
Customized Report Services – South Korea recovery report
Global Analysis Report
Prepared by: Hongli Wang, Senior Market Analyst
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2022).
All photographs reproduced in this publication are used by permission of the rights holders.
All images, unless otherwise noted, are copyright Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada.
To join our distribution list or to suggest additional report topics or markets, please contact:Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Global Analysis
1341 Baseline Rd, Tower 5, 3rd floor
Ottawa ON K1A 0C5
The Government of Canada has prepared this report based on primary and secondary sources of information. Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) assumes no liability for any actions taken based on the information contained herein.
Reproduction or redistribution of this document, in whole or in part, must include acknowledgement of agriculture and agri-food Canada as the owner of the copyright in the document, through a reference citing AAFC, the title of the document and the year. Where the reproduction or redistribution includes data from this document, it must also include an acknowledgement of the specific data source(s), as noted in this document.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada provides this document and other report services to agriculture and food industry clients free of charge.