Clothing and Footwear Prices See Highest Increase in 31 Years in Korea

Clothing and footwear prices in South Korea experienced the highest rate of increase in 31 years, rising 8.0 percent compared to the previous year.

The surge in demand for clothing, as COVID-19 restrictions eased and outdoor activities increased, played a significant role in driving up prices. Additionally, the introduction of new clothing collections for the spring and summer seasons contributed to the price hike.

According to the National Statistical Office’s National Statistics Portal (KOSIS), the national clothing and footwear price index reached 111.65 last month, marking an 8.0% increase from the same period last year. This rate of increase is the highest since May 1992, which recorded an 8.3% rise.

The inflation rate for clothing and shoes remained in the 1% range until April last year. However, it quickly rose to the 3% level in May and reached the 5% level in November. This year, the rate stood at 6.1% for both March and April, before surging to 8% in the latest report.

Among the various sectors, clothing prices increased by 8.4% last month, while footwear prices rose by 5.8%. Notably, gloves (18.1%), T-shirts (14.3%), dresses (13.7%), children’s/baby clothes (13.7%), jeans (11.8%), and laundry (11.3%) saw relatively high rates of increase.

The significant rise in clothing and footwear prices stands in contrast to the overall trend of slowing consumer price index growth. Monthly consumer price inflation peaked at 6.3% in July last year but fell to 3.3% last month.

Apart from clothing and footwear, other categories that exceeded the overall increase in consumer prices include food and lodging (7.0%), other goods and services (6.4%), household goods and housekeeping services (6.0%), housing, water, electricity, and fuel (5.9%), food and non-alcoholic beverages (3.9%), and entertainment and culture (3.8%).

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