|The G-dragon Action Figure. Courtesy of YG Eshop of YG Entertainment|
By Dong Sun-hwa
There is one Korean industry that economic depression hardly affects and steadily records estimated annual sales of nearly 100 billion won ($90 million) ― the K-pop idol goods market.
|The Wanna One Carrier. Courtesy of CJ ENM|
Nowadays, fans of K-pop collect the "G-dragon Action Figure," eat "Super Junior Habanero Ramen," and pull the "Wanna One Carrier," just to mention a few. Bluetooth speakers, portable fans and cosmetics are also waiting for fandom to open their wallets.
Merchandise prices vary, but many are high. The figure of G-dragon, for instance, costs 350,000 won ($313).
|The BTS Official Light Stick Ver.3. Courtesy of Big Hit Shop of Big Hit Entertainment|
Light sticks, which are used to cheer the singers, are another hot item beloved by fans. The price is usually around 25,000 won ($22).
Considering there are over 35 million hallyu fans across the world, revenue from selling idol merchandize must be high. In fact many agencies, including SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment, operate online and offline shops to offer goods.
But the success of the market also is fueling worries. Some point out that agencies are abusing fans with star marketing, fostering excessive consumption and impulse buying.
"One of my friends used to buy many goods, but now she is selling them all to make pocket money," a K-pop fan in her 20s said.