South Korea is one of the largest e-commerce markets in the world. The trend of online shopping is quite high in the country with the best internet penetration rate of more than 90%. No doubt, there is a rise in many E-commerce startups in the country. Leading e-commerce startup Coupang is termed as the Amazon of S. Korea and has achieved the status of ‘unicorn.’ The startup started as a daily deals business or coupon business and eventually went on to become an e-commerce platform selling various products.
Koreatechdesk.com examines some other E-Commerce startups that bringing in innovation to retail verticals and leading the Korean startup ecosystem.
1. Ticket Monster Inc. (TMON) – Selling Everything
The company, founded in 2010, is the second most popular e-commerce site after Coupang and the largest daily deals platform in South Korea. The startup operates in three key verticals – Goods, Local and Travel – and offers over 47,000 deals in categories such as electronics, lifestyle products, books, games, and household products through partnerships with approximately 15,000 merchants. Eighty percent of TMON‘s transactions are completed on mobile devices, and its customer base continues to expand into multiple age segments. In November 2013, Groupon acquired a stake in the company for $ 260 million. Anchor Equity Partners and global investment firm KKR have signed a definitive agreement to acquire a controlling stake of Ticket Monster Inc. from Groupon.
2. ZigZag – Making Fashion Statements
It is a fashion app that has won the hearts of Korean fashionistas—developed by Croquis Inc. Zigzag focuses on women’s fashion. ZigZag has become a must-have app for 75 % of women in their 20s in the country. In 2018, the app crossed 500 billion won or $ 442 million worth of order value, making its growth over 50% over the previous year. The easy to use interface has ensured that users can effortlessly browse and bookmark their favorite shops, and search results are tailored for each individual. Retailers have their items automatically synced to match constant updates of new items and prices to keep everyone on the same page.
3. Idus – Handcrafted with Passion
This unique platform from the startup Backpackr Inc. offers handcrafted products, much like ‘Etsy.’ The app idus was launched in June 2014 with a focus on providing local handicraft item makers a platform to sell their products online. It is now the largest handmade online market platform in Korea. The startup recorded 57.6 billion won or about $50.8 million worth of transactions in 2018. This is an over 300 % growth over the previous year. The app has recorded over 5 million downloads since its launch and has over 1.6 million monthly users.
4. StyleShare – Where Beauty & Fashion come together
StyleShare is a realtime mobile and online platform that allows users to share and receive updates on fashion and beauty. With millions of users from about 120 different countries, StyleShare is the top mobile platform for those interested in everyday fashion and beauty. Headquartered in Seoul, StyleShare has garnered the attention of international brands like VOGUE, Instyle, and Elle Japan, who have termed as the No. 1 mobile fashion app. Founded by woman entrepreneur Ja-young Yoon StyleShare has over 5.5 million users and boasts of 73% of all South Korean women aged between 15-29 years. The company also recently launched its fashion label and acquired the online shopping platform 29CM. Its sales stood at $107 million last year!