May 10, 2016

    S. Koreans no longer leaving their oxygen intake up in the air


    INCREASING concerns about air pollution have led to a sharp increase in consumer demand for oxygen and air purification products in South Korea.

    According to data released yesterday by online open market Gmarket, sales of air-related products have risen by nearly 2.5 times since three years ago.

    Products that showed particularly notable growth were canned oxygen, whose sales rose by 76 per cent over three years, and oxygen concentrators, whose sales increased five-fold according to Gmarket.

    Portable canned oxygen allows users to breathe in higher levels of oxygen and oxygen concentrators filter ambient air to provide a stream of concentrated oxygen.

    Although such products were originally intended to be used for specific purposes by athletes and patients, they have become more popular among everyday consumers who are looking for air purity beyond levels that are possible simply by wearing face masks or running air purifiers.

    "We are seeing a particular spike in interest among consumers such as stressed students, senior citizens and pregnant women," said Bae Jong Il, chief executive of Pure O2.

    Pure O2 makes canned oxygen mixed with phytoncides - naturally occurring anti-bacterial plant substances.

    A pack of three fresh air cans costs around 30,000 won (S$35).

    Mr Bae said demand increases in spring and before fall, when students take college entrance exams.

    He noted that interest in these products was spreading to China, where air pollution can be severe.