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Retailers ride on World Cup marketing

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Models pose with a can of beer and a soccer ball to promote a promotional event held at a Homeplus store in Seoul, on Nov. 21. Courtesy of Homeplus
Models pose with a can of beer and a soccer ball to promote a promotional event held at a Homeplus store in Seoul, on Nov. 21. Courtesy of Homeplus

By Kim Jae-heun

Convenience stores and other retailers have launched a marketing blitz related to the ongoing World Cup in Qatar as they try to break through the current consumption slump, caused by rising interest rates and soaring inflation, according to industry officials Monday.

The retailers had halted their marketing activities following the deadly crowd crush in Itaewon, Seoul, on Oct. 29, but they have recently begun resuming promotional events to capitalize on one of the world's largest sporting events.

Homeplus has been offering various items related to the global soccer event at a discount until Nov. 30. E-mart is also giving discounts for items ― like beer, barbeque products and televisions ― with promotions themed on the World Cup.

"We have prepared discount promotions for alcoholic beverages and home foods in celebration of the global sport event. We hope the World Cup will boost consumer spending during the World Cup and perk up the sluggish market," an E-mart official said.

A customer makes Korean soccer star Son Heung-min's signature goal celebration hand sign in front of a CU store in Seoul on Nov. 20. Courtesy of BGF Retail
A customer makes Korean soccer star Son Heung-min's signature goal celebration hand sign in front of a CU store in Seoul on Nov. 20. Courtesy of BGF Retail

Convenience stores are welcoming the World Cup too.

One of the country's largest convenience store brands, CU, has already selected the Korean national soccer team's captain, Son Heung-min, as its commercial model. To customers who share a photo of themselves making Son's signature hand sign online, CU is giving out discount e-coupons via a lottery.

Kyochon F&B is giving away discount e-coupons to customers who order fried chicken on its mobile application platform. BBQ Genesis has introduced a special chicken menu item only for the World Cup.

"There have been various negative factors that have affected consumer sentiment here in the past few months. We expect the World Cup to provide momentum for consumer confidence to revive again. After that, year-end events will follow to boost consumer spending," a local fried chicken franchise firm official said.

Sports events are the retail firms' biggest boon. When South Korea beat Iran in Asia's final qualifying round for the Qatar World Cup on March 24, sales of beer and snacks at local convenience store Emart24 increased 21 percent and 17 percent, respectively, compared to those of the previous week.


Kim Jae-heun jhkim@koreatimes.co.kr


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