SEOUL, Oct. 3 (Korea Bizwire) –The average monthly expenditure on books by households in their 20s and 30s has dropped below 10,000 won for the first time, marking a significant shift in spending habits. To put this into perspective, it’s interesting to note that the average cost of a lunch for an office worker this year was 7,761 won, making the monthly expense on books roughly equivalent to a single lunch.
According to recent data from Statistics Korea’s National Statistics Portal, in the second quarter of this year, households led by individuals aged 30 or younger spent an average of 9,333 won per month on books. This figure represents a substantial decrease of 34.1 percent compared to the same period last year.
This marks a noteworthy milestone as it’s the first time since 2006, when such statistics were first compiled, that households in their 20s and 30s have spent less than 10,000 won per month on books. The trend has been steadily declining since the second quarter of 2012 when it first fell below the 10,000 won mark (19,668 won) after previously hovering around 20,000 won in the mid-2000s.
Of particular concern is the intensified decline observed in the second quarter of this year. After experiencing approximately 20 percent declines for three consecutive quarters since the third quarter of the previous year, book expenditures have now dropped into the 9,000 won range for the first time.
Interestingly, households in their 40s are the only age group still spending more than 10,000 won per month on books in the second quarter of this year. They spent an average of KRW 17,475 per month on books, reflecting a slight increase of 0.1% compared to the previous year.
Overall, the average monthly book expenditure for all households in the second quarter was KRW 8,077, which marks a substantial 10.4% decrease from the previous year (KRW 9,110).
Some experts speculate that this decline in book spending is indicative of the shifting culture among younger generations. Many are now turning to mobile content platforms for information instead of traditional print books. For instance, a survey conducted by the Seoul Institute of Technology in November found that 19.6 percent of teenagers and 13.5 percent of those in their 20s considered watching videos on platforms like YouTube as a form of “reading.”
It’s important to note that in household trend statistics, “book expenditure” only covers the cost of purchasing paper books, while e-book consumption falls under “cultural service expenditure” along with game content.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)