In South Korea, there is a raising class of costumers known as The Gold Misses. In other words, single women with significant purchasing power.
There were several trends that had led to the creation of this growing consumer segment. The first was the increasing educational levels among Korean women. Currently, the number of women with university degrees is higher than that of men. And in the past, of course this wasn’t the case. Most of them would simply stay at home and take over the role of a housewife.
The next change was that women were getting married later. Since year 1970, the average age of the first marriage for women had gone up from just over 23 years to 30 years. There is also more and more women who don’t want to get married at all. For many of them, their career is simply more important.
It’s also important to mention, that many of those who want to get married, don’t want to have kids. From the interviews I have done, I found out that there are many reasons behind it. Long working hours, extremely competitive environment and high tuition fees are just some of the most common responses.
In addition, disposable income of Koreans is growing. What once used to be one of the poorest countries in the world, is right now one of the richest. At the moment, their GDP per capita is higher than the one in Slovenia as well as many other European countries.
Koreans also made a shift from historically saving oriented society towards extreme consumerism. From what we have seen 2009, even the global recession cannot stop them.
“In pursuit of middle-class prosperity, South Koreans have looted their household savings like no other people on Earth. They have collectively binged on private schools and fancy cars, language camps and new apartments, foreign travel and designer shoes. Americans, the long-time avatars of consumerism gone mad, will save next year at double the rate of South Koreans.” (Washington Post, 2009)
Clear beneficiaries from these trends are of course luxury goods companies. The luxury market in 2015 reached U$10,6 billion and is the fourth fastest growing luxury goods market in the world behind India, China and Hong Kong.
Many foreign companies that carefully followed the trends are already benefiting from them. They marketed their products accordingly and found a way to get a slice of this tempting pie. Their revenues are going through the roof, while many other companies are still wondering who The Gold Misses are.
Before signing off, I want to show you an example of a true Gold Misses. According to Dae Ryun Chang, the author of the book Mastering Noon Nopi, a good example of The Gold Misses would be Su-Jin Yoo. He describes her as “ 35 year-old asset manager who boasted an annual income of nearly U$600,000 and had become the youngest executive at Samsung Life. She owned three imported cars, employed a "personal shopper" and often stayed in hotel suite rooms that charged about U$6,000 per night. She was not attached to traditional pressure to get married but instead wanted to endlessly challenge herself to achieve her goals and self-development. She gained notoriety by appearing on the cable channel tvN as "The 60 Billion Won Income Woman" where she was shown not only working but also enjoying her leisure activities such as golf, ballet flower arrangement, and vocal training. Yoo confidently explained that her philosophy about success in life was that people needed to work hard to earn money that could then be reinvested to make them even better."
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