Sep 08, 2016

    Middle-aged S. Korean men going gaga over gadgets


    CONSULTANT Steve Shin, 38, is saving each month to buy things on his wish list: a beam projector, a drone and a remote-controlled car.

    He is among a growing number of middle-aged men in South Korea who are interested in collecting gadgets as a hobby, opening up a new market of untapped consumers for the sluggish retail sector.

    With low-end remote-controlled cars and hobby drones starting at around 50,000 won (S$62) apiece, gadgets are a new affordable category of hobby spending.

    According to data from online open market Gmarket, between June and August this year, men made up 65 per cent of sales for the helicopter, airplane and drone category, and 62 per cent in the motorised scooter and wheel categories.

    The most notable growth was in men over 40.

    Experts say the surge of spending on these hobby gadgets is a combination of changing perceptions of spending by men and increased availability of products that appeal to men.

    "In the past, men did not spend a lot on themselves.

    "Most of their hobby spending would be sports-related," Dongguk University business professor Yeo Jun Sang said.

    "But with increasing stress due to the slow economy, men are looking for more entertainment and hobby activities."