The Korean online fashion shopping website 29CM is growing at a rapid rate in popularity and in business. The online shopping startup that sells clothes, lifestyle goods, home appliances, food and beverages reportedly has 150% growth each year since its launch in 2011.
In May 2021, the fashion unicorn startup Musinsa acquired a 100% stake in fashion platform StyleShare and 29CM. The acquisition scale is $265 million or 300 billion won. Styleshare will be utilising Musinsa’s brand value to expand globally.
Creating shopping trends & increasing customers
29CM was started with an aim to give shoppers a unique experience with Korean local fashion brands. The startup now boasts of a steady increase in consumers visiting online, which is over one million visitors per month. The digital platform offers users a ‘Guide to Better Choice’, which is a choice of variety of high-quality brands at reasonable rates. There are over 2000 brands displaying their products on 29CM.
The key to the rapid growth of the shopping platform is its content, which is appealing to the youth, which is the primary target audience. 29CM has been successfully setting shopping trends in South Korea, with its quality content.
The platform’s interface is impressive and is just like a fashion magazine display. In 2014, 29CM’s mobile app had won the German Red Dot Award and in 2015 the IF Design Award. It was notably the only Korean shopping app to win two of world’s top three design awards.
Merging success for growth
In 2011 when the digital environment was transforming from PC to mobiles, Lee Chang-woo had set up AplusB, the company behind 29CM, as a subsidiary of GS Home Shopping. In 2015, leading investor Altos Ventures infused 3 billion won or $2.6 million in the startup. This funding accelerated the growth of the e-commerce site.
In 2018, the company’s growth attracted popular Korean fashion mobile app company StyleShare, which bought 100% stake in the AplusB for 20 billion won or $28 million. StyleShare, which is famous among teens and 20-somethings is now a major stakeholder of 29CM. Though StyleShare and 29CM have different content and target consumers, the combination of both platforms make them a leading women’s fashion e-commerce in the Korean market.
“StyleShare and 29CM will focus on the community and the content, respectively. With them, we will continue to discover good brands and products and expand our customer base,” said Lee Chang-woo regarding the acquisition. StyleShare CEO Yoon Ja-young had said, “29CM and StyleShare each create a new paradigm of mobile fashion commerce. We will maximize the capabilities of both companies and achieve 500 billion won $ 467 million in sales by 2020.”