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S. Koreans spending more on Chuseok gifts instead of visiting families amid COVID-19 Updated: 2020-09-24 10:04:57 KST

The lead up to the Chuseok holiday is always a hectic time for farmers,but this year, this Shine Muscat grape farm is extra busy .
Often considered a 'luxurious' type of grape, shine muscat has become a popular gift for the upcoming holiday, as people are willing to spend more on gifts instead of visiting their families amid COVID-19 pandemic.

"These huge grapes are around two and a half times more expensive than regular varieties but with demand going through the roof, people working at the farm are spending their whole day packing for gift sets."

"This year, we are seeing sales surge by around 30 percent. It is so busy that even our clients' employees had to come and help prepare the gift sets."

South Korea's largest retailers like e-mart have purchased 11 times more Shine Muscat grapes than last year.
Department store catalogues are full of luxurious products like king oyster mushrooms, dried yellow corvina and wines.
The most popular choice for buyers is hanwoo, Korean beef.
Hanwoo sets normally range from around 80 U.S. dollars up to more than a thousand dollars, and this year, the most expensive sets were more popular than before.
According to Shinsegae online mall, sales of gift sets priced above 1-hundred-70 U.S. dollars jumped by almost 200 percent on year.

"I'm thinking of hanwoo sets because they look the most luxurious. I want to spend more to buy something better than usual because I can't visit them this year. I'm also planning on having them delivered."

And the number of package varieties costing between 85 and 170 dollars doubled.
That is because the government has eased an anti-corruption law that limits the size of gifts for people who work in certain sectors, temporarily allowing gifts of up to 200-thousand won, or about 170 U.S. dollars.
Deliveries are also on the rise.
Shinsegae said twice as many people are using its direct delivery service, as more people are sending love through gift sets, instead of visiting their families.
Kim Sung-min, Arirang News
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