With the changes of purchasing standards from cost-effectiveness to premium, the meaning of premium has also changed. Among these changes, ‘Pyunrimium’, which recognizes convenience as a premium, is in the spotlight. Let’s look at the Pyunrimium’s definition, background and many other examples.
What is Pyunrimium?
Pyunrimium is a combination of premium and ‘편리’ which means convenience in Korean. It means the tendency of consumers to recognize the convenience of saving time and money as a premium. In other word, Pyunrimium is a newly coined word that reflects a trend of consumption, which is a willingness to buy products or services at higher cost in exchange for convenience. For example, instead of making breakfast by yourself, you get a quick meal or meal kit or you have a daily delivery of clean, ironed shirts for work to reduce the time needed washing or ironing. So the heart of Pyunrimium’s strategy is to reduce the amount of time to do work, to ease troublesome efforts, or to maximize the desired outcome.
The Pyunrimium market typically has led to the growth of home appliances and professional services, which are replacements for household labor. According to data analyzed by Hyundai Card in October 2019, the number of household-related service payments increased nearly 3.4 times in 2019 when compared to those of 2017. In the past, customers’ use of household service was limited to the wealthy, but nowadays clothes dryers, dishwashers, and robot vacuum cleaners, which reduce household housework burdens of labor, are called "3新 household appliances" and are becoming essential household appliances. “3新 household appliances” has a double meaning. It means three new essential home appliances, or God's products to reduce household chores. According to Shinsegae Department Store, in January 2020, sales of dishwashers grew 323.2 percent year-on-year. This is compared with 20.4 percent increase in total sales of home appliances last year. In addition, the delivery food business is growing day by day as more people try to reduce the efforts of visiting restaurants. According to data released by the Fair Trade Commission in 2019, the number of delivery food app users in South Korea increased by 2874% from 2013 to 2018, and the size of the domestic food delivery market in 2018 was about 20 trillion won. As the domestic delivery food market grows, it is expanding its reach. For example, the flagship delivery app ‘BaeMin’ launched ‘Baemin Riders’ in 2015 so that the food from different restaurants, such as steak, ice cream and sushi, which had not previously been delivered, can also be delivered to customers’ houses. In addition, BaeMin announced that it would begin delivering brunch on weekend mornings in March 2019, further expanding the types of food that can be ordered by delivery apps. About this extended delivery service, Seung-Shin Lee, Konkuk University's professor of consumer informatics, said, “It is not because of the increase in personal income, but because the number of young people who value their time and labor has increased so more people are willing to pay for delivery for convenience."
Why Pyunrimium is so Popular?
The first reason that people pay attention to Pyunrimium is because the number of time poor people is currently increasing. This means people who are chased by time. In December 2019, Job Korea and Albamon, a job portal site, surveyed 1,162 workers and found that 6 out of 10 respondents said they were Time Poor. Those who feel that they have little free time outside of working hours find ways to achieve maximum satisfaction with minimal labor. In other words, they tend to pay for boring, repetitive tasks such as household chores, and take care of them comfortably, and develop themselves during that time or pursue diverse experiences. So they begin to use ‘convenience’ as the basis for consumption, which saves them time and effort as much as the price or quality of the product.
The second reason is the change in consumption behavior. Trend analyst Lee Hyang-eun of Sungshin Women's University explained, "The consumption target is changing from goods to services." This means that consumption patterns are also changing as attention shifts to services that improve quality of life rather than ownership of goods. A typical example of this change in consumption behavior is the growth of the subscribed economy. The subscribed economy does not mean that consumers buy a product. It means paying regularly and using a desired goods or service for a certain period of time. According to the Credit Suisse report, the global market for subscribed economies is expected to grow to about 594 trillion won in 2020. Regarding the growth of the subscribed economy, Bloomberg, a leading American media company, analyzed that current people in their 20s and 30s who directly saw the financial crisis that brought down the value of their own assets, tend to be wary of owning things. In this society, people buy services for immediate convenience rather than owning things or saving money.
The last reason is the change in social form because of the development of the Internet. Most people who like Pyunrimium services are young men, who have grown up with the Internet and mobile phones since childhood. For example, location-based friend matching app ‘Tinder’ has become popular around the world, surpassing 300 million downloads in 2018 and reaching 900 billion won in sales per year. The popularity of these apps shows that modern people prefer to interact with people who can easily connect and break in online, rather than having unnecessary relationships offline. In this society, there has been an increase in the number of people who were willing to use agency services to accomplish even the smallest tasks that they would have asked for help with in the past. In this society, more and more people tend to solve even small problems through agency services instead of asking for help from people around them.
The typical examples of Pyunrimium
Typical examples of Pyunrimium include household agency services, other agency services, home convenience food and B marts. As the application economy is developing, various agency services apps are increasing, and among them household service is the most popular service. According to the Ministry of Employment and Labor in 2019, the household service market is expected to be between 700 billion won and 1.1 trillion won in 2020. The representative household service is 'Laundry go', which officially opened its service in March 2019. ‘Laundry go’ is a new concept laundry service that allows users to put their laundry in their own smart laundry collection box "laundlet" and leaves it at the door before 12 midnight, and have the washing and ironing completed and delivered back in one day. The price of regular service is not cheap, from 33,000 won to 139,000 won, but it is popular for its convenience. In December 2019, ‘Laundry go’ laundered 1 million liters of daily laundry in just nine months after its launch, and its sales grew by 35 percent on average every month. Kim Se-yeon (36), an office worker who uses a laundry service, said, “Though the laundry shop provides collection and delivery services before, but there was always a time conflict.” and “I tried to go to the laundry shop, but if I visited the laundry when I was going to work, it was not open yet, and if I went after work, it would be closed. So I thought the biggest advantage is that we can use the laundry service through the app without any time constraints.”
Not only the growth of household services such as laundry, but also other agency services that replace other minor tasks are increasing. According to industry-estimated data in 2019, the market for this type of agency service platforms has an average of 220,000 requests per day and has grown to 1.2 trillion won based on estimated costs for this year. ‘Kim Butler’ is one of the most popular app for an agency service, commonly called an errands app. It provides services that can help with household chores such as simply taking out garbage, buying medicine or transferring luggage. Unlike other companies, ‘Kim Butler’ maintains high-quality services. For that reason, many employees are employed full-time on a monthly salary basis, and only provide services based on big apartments. Launched in early 2018, It finished its pilot services that starting with apartments in Songpa-gu. Now they are enlarging the service area to 160 apartment complexes in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province. As of August 2019, the number of households using the service has risen to 150,000 households. At the heart of this service is ‘the Butlerbu who is an employee who waits at the ‘Butler station’ in the apartment mall. When you apply for the service through the application, the ‘Butler’ who is waiting at the Butler station will be dispatched to take care of small household chores in 20 minutes. The most popular service is garbage disposal. Food waste disposal is 2,000 won, and recycling garbage collection is 3,000 won. If you apply for both at once, you can get a discount of 1,000 won. Although paying for household chores that would have been handled directly before, the number of orders continues to grow as single-use customers become regular customers with the convenience. An App user said, "Because the order was in the form of a conversation, I was able to communicate the request in detail. It was good to know the details of the process, so the waiting is not boring.
Another trend of Pyunrimium that also stands out in the home-meal section. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation selected ‘Pyunrimium’ as the keywords that will lead the trend of dining out in 2020. According to their report, the size of the home-meal market grew by 63% compared to 2015, reaching 2.7421 trillion won in 2017. Within the growth of the home-meal market, data released by Gmarket and Auction in 2019 showed that the sales of "Meal-kits" jumped 180 times in three years. A Meal-kit is a product that gives you the fun of cooking. Inside it, the food ingredients needed for a particular dish are prepared in advance. It makes the cooking time shorter (20-30 minutes).,Thanks to the simple leaving of basic procedures such as stir-frying and boiling, people can enjoy cooking. A good example of this is ‘cook-kit’. Cook-kit, which was launched in June 2019, is s meal-kit that sells meals in a ready-to-cook form developed by the food synergy team that includes CJ Jeil Jedang Food Research Institute and 13 professional chefs from hotels. The menu includes Braised Ripe Kimchi and Mackerel, Gambas al-Ahiyo, Mille-Feuille-nabe, Poophat Poncurry, and Pane Cream Pasta, which are difficult to cook by directly preparing all the ingredients. Those who are not good at cooking can make high-quality food in 20-30 minutes like a skilled cook because they only need to put the ingredients in boiling water or heated frying pan according to the directions in the kit. Most Cook-kit meals are priced at more than 20,000 won for 2-3 servings, but they have been well-received by buyers for their lack of effort, such as grocery shopping, material trim and recipe searching. In fact, a buyer of a pane cream pasta Cook-kit said, "Not only is it simpler, it’s better than at pasta restaurants. I want to order this product often.” According to CJ Jeil-Jedang, Cook-kit has received more than 2,000 orders every day, its newly introduced meals each week are sold out and its repurchase rate is well over 40%.
The last example of Pyunrimium is B-mart. In November 2019, Woowa Brothers who operate BaeMin officially launched the "Bmart" service, which delivers goods in 30 minutes quickly. Bmart is targeting small one-person households and then ships items that can be easily found at convenience stores. It handles processed food, food ingredients in small packages as well as umbrellas, detergents, batteries and pet supplies. The Bmart service enables speedy delivery within 30 minutes across Seoul in response to an order call by a delivery engineer, not a courier. Unlike large retailers, which have been competing with planning sets and discounts, B-mart competes with ultra-small purchases and instant delivery. In other words, it has the advantage of allowing people to order only enough ingredients to eat right now, but its prices are higher price than at large discount stores. Nevertheless, consumers are very satisfied with the convenience. In its own survey conducted by Woowa Brothers in the first half of 2019, 90% of the respondents rated B-market as "satisfied" and "very satisfied." One of the Tstory bloggers said "The delivery of goods arrived earlier than when I go to the supermarket."
The Future of the Pyunrimium market
Meanwhile, there are also concerns that safety-related problems may arise as many Pyunrimium platform services connect strangers. This is because personal information such as names and phone numbers can be leaked and it is highly likely to be abused for violent crimes. In fact, there was a case in June 2018 in which an ex-convict was matched to a woman who asked to move furniture through an agency service and he attempted to rape the client inside her house but failed. Accordingly, the agency service App ‘Anyman’ said that it will verify the reliability of workers through its own authentication app "Pass" from 2020 to minimize concerns about users’ safety. Also in December 2019, It became a hot topic online about the recruitment of workers for a part-time job for waiting line at a pork cutlet restaurant called ‘Yeondon’, which was broadcasted in the TV program ‘Baek Jongwon’s Alley Restaurant.’ The restaurant sells only 100 servings a day, but the numbers of tourists is crowded too much, they have to wait in line from dawn. In response, several people hired part-time workers who lined up instead for 100,000 won per day. This is more than 10 times the price of the 9,000 won for a pork cutlet. The owner of the restaurant Yeondon said, "If we find a part-time job online, we will shut down the business on the same day." However, the controversy continues. Pyunrimium which buys convenience for money, means that you have to pay more money for convenience. And it has the risk of bringing all values down to money. In other words, there is a danger of becoming a society where everyone can pursue convenience, but people get different level of access according to wealth.
Despite some of these concerns, however, most views of the Pyunrimium market are favorable. It is predicted that Pyunrimium markets will grow further in the future due to integration with high-tech technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), ICT (Information Communication Technology) and IoT(Internet of Things). It is also expected that 3新 home appliances, which are already drawing attention for convenience, will also be imporved with AI and IoT to give more convenience to users. In particular, in January 2020, LG Electronics planned to capture the ‘Pyunrimium generation’ by releasing products with AI features such as washing machines that automatically sets the laundry cycle after detecting contamination of clothes and refrigerators that recommends proper recipes after inventorying its contents. In addition, ‘Predictive commerce’ through AI and Big Data Technology is in the spotlight. It identifies recommended products that can be purchased based on the data even before people recognize the need for making a purchase. In December 2019, Interpark announced a plan to offer a new shopping experience by applying services that offer personalization recommendations and accurate future business forecasting functions across the board. As high-tech technology develops, more convenience products and services are expected to emerge, so the Pyunrimium market is expected to expand and capture more consumers.
Pyunrimium, which changes the standard of premium into convenience, is drawing attention. Pyunrimium services that have the effect of buying time as money will continue to grow. Thus, the Pyunrimium market could expand further if we observe what inconvenience consumers are experiencing in their daily lives and in what areas they are spending unnecessary time.
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