COVID-19 revitalised the overall consumption of ice cream and frozen desserts as people were spending more time at home, which consequently led most of the major domestic and local manufacturers to record positive growth in 2020. Typically, ice cream sales in South Korea are seasonal with a high reliance on the summer season.
The emergence of a new offline distribution channel, unmanned ice cream stores, contributed to reviving the ice cream industry in 2020, and will contribute to maintaining the positive sales trajectory in 2021. Unmanned ice cream stores are chained retail outlets with a primary focus on selling ice cream, they are operated by a kiosk but without a manned service.
The competitive landscape of the South Korean ice cream retail market was reshaped following Binggrae Co Ltd’s acquisition of Haitai Ice Cream (part of Haitai Confectionery & Foods Co Ltd) in 2020. Historically, there have been four key players in ice cream in South Korea, with Lotte Confectionery and Binggrae in the leading group with tiny differences in shares, followed by Lotte Food Co Ltd and Haitai Confectionery & Foods Co Ltd which also have minimal differences in retail shares.
After receiving a notably positive boost from the pandemic, ice cream and frozen desserts is set to continue seeing current value growth in 2022 before demand normalises and sales stagnate for the remainder of the forecast period. In the forecast period, competition between the two leading players, Lotte Confectionery Co Ltd and Binggrae Co Ltd, is set to increase.
The price war in ice cream is set to continue to some extent into the forecast period. Indeed, the pandemic ignited a half-price ice cream war, facilitated by unmanned ice cream stores but also further encouraged by convenience stores.
The pandemic encouraged the ice cream industry to start offering subscription services, with the development likely to continue over the forecast period. While at first the subscription box model was adopted by premium ice cream brands such as Natuur (Lotte Confectionery) and Cled’or (Binggrae) in 2020, the subscription model has been expanding to include other ice cream brands.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts industry in South Korea with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts research and analysis database.
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