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  • Kim Yun-a

[Trend] 20s-30s Trend, Is It Show-off Consumption or Reasonable Consumption?

No.164 / Jun 12, 2023

Recently, global luxury brands have been selecting popular teenagers as Korean ambassadors, reflecting the trend luxury goods consumption being targeted toward lower age groups. According to the luxury industry, Haerin, one of the members of the K-pop girl group NewJeans was recently selected as an ambassador for jewelry, fashion, and beauty of the luxury brand Dior. All the members of NewJeans have been selected as luxury ambassadors and are active. Except for Minji and Hanni, who were born in 2004, Danielle (19), Haerin (18), and Hyein (16) are all teenagers. Some worry that the selection of K-pop stars as luxury brand models could encourage unnecessary consumption among middle- and high-school students in Korea.

According to a survey by the United States (U.S.) investment bank Morgan Stanley, Korea spent the most money in the world on luxury goods per capita last year, when Korean consumption of luxury goods was reported to be 16.8 billion dollars (about 20.9 trillion won), up 24% from 2021. This amounts to 325 dollars (about 404,000 won) spent on luxury goods per Korean, more than the U.S. (280 dollars, about 348,000 won) and China (55 dollars, about 68,000 won). Industry experts analyze that “the anxiety of the prolonged pandemic has led to the growth of the luxury market.” In fact, stock prices of related companies also rose rapidly as demand for luxury goods expanded around the world during the pandemic. In addition, luxury brands, which have been steadily raising prices despite the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, have been on the rise by creating a new term, “open run”, which means the act of running and purchasing as soon as the store opens.

However, in contrast to such conspicuous consumption such as luxury purchases, as the economic situation has deteriorated recently, there is also a movement toward reasonable consumption centered on the Millennial generation and Generation Z (MZ generation), which is drawing great attention. Recently, prices have soared, and the anonymous Kakao Talk open chat room “Beggar Room” has become popular among the MZ generation. Beggar Room is a space where young people, from college students to newcomers to society, who aim to save money gather to disclose their expenditures and share savings tips. If you post that you want to buy bottled water in a beggar’s room, participants will tell you how to drink water for free, saying it is a waste of money, instead recommending users to drink “Arisu” (Seoul tap water) than bottled water or taking water from companies or government offices before leaving work. In this era of high prices, saving has become a trend among the younger generation.

Unlike the “show-off” consumption of luxury purchases, it is encouraging that the younger generation is moving to make reasonable consumption through savings. It is not possible to criticize show-off consumption unconditionally, but that does not mean that the value of reasonable consumption disappears. Even in the midst of the wave of show-off consumption, the reasonable consumption movement seen in Beggar Room shows the health of our society.


By Kim Yun-a, AG Cub Reporter

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