Department Stores and their Filthy Rich Koreans

Hajon Lee

As you’ve maybe heard of, Korea is a place called heaven if you have money in your hands. The reason is mostly because of the comfortable lifestyle and department stores it has. There are various department stores in Korea, but the top three bands are Shinsegae, Hyundai, and Galleria. Shinsegae has the most department branches with 18 followed by Hyundai with 15 department branches, and Galleria with 5 department branches. There are thousands of people that visit and use the department, however from that thousands and thousands of people, the top 1% makes up from the 90% revenue of the department store. So why do the 1% spend so much money and how do department stores take care of these VIPs? VIPs are obviously super rich, but the reason they spend so much money is because of the privilege they are provided and how others view them. A lot of Korean people care about how others see them which shapes the values and actions they must take to fit in. It’s the thought that how people think of your image determines what kind of person you are. So let’s talk about how even the VIPs are separated. It all depends on how much money you spend and how many times you visit the department store. Usually you would need to spend about 1702 dollars annually to become a VIP which is seemingly not too much, but if you actually want to be like one of the VIPs that are often shown in k-dramas or movies you would need to spend 8500 dollars above. When you are a low VIP you can get free drinks at the members lounge, get 5-7% discounts, and park freely at the department store. Now when you become a high-class VIP, the service is a lot different, in a good way. In the department store, there is a team that is only dedicated for these VIPs. They park the cars which they drive, act as a personal shopper, and also provide you with shipping consulting. The perks of being a VIP do not end with this, but they get to use the VIP lounge and the best part is they are invited to various events. A little bit of secret is, there are two days the departments store close and the reason for this is because of the holiday, however; also to host a party for the top VIPs. They are given a sale for most of the brands and as you would imagine a party with lots of food and gifts. Everything is set and aligned to what they do as they make up most of the revenue. Shopping is becoming more focused to that one person and trying to give you that unique and special experience. That is why a personal fashion show is opened for only people or why they arrange a car to pick up the customer. It’s an unfamiliar, yet curious part of Korea and somewhat now is being a culture among the 2030.

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