Visiting a local Korean supermarket or hypermarket may be the best thing for you if you plan to buy things you’ll need from day to day. These markets are usually offer better deals than smaller businesses while also having longer visiting periods.
When it comes to buying your groceries or basic daily needs, marts and hypermarkets are the place where most koreans choose to do their shopping. The reason is very clear the moment you step foot in one of these large supermarkets.They have almost everything you could ask for.
One of the best perks for many large hypermarkets in Korea is that they offer an extremely convenient online shopping and delivery service. This means that you could get your groceries delivered to your front door within the same day or next day after making your purchase. How convenient is that?
Korea has one of the best infrastructures when it comes to shopping. You can find these hypermarkets in almost every part of South Korea, especially in Seoul.
Hypermarkets in South Korea
If you’re the type of person who likes shopping at Walmart, then this one’s for you. Hypermarkets are the large general stores where most Koreans go to shop for just about anything. From groceries and clothes to even household appliances, hypermarkets have everything you can ask for.
This mega-chain franchise is famous throughout South Korea as the most prominent retailer chain. There were 160 store chains as of 2016 and increase even more per year.
The company is founded by Shinsegae, once a part of the larger conglomerate Samsung Group before separation. E-mart also acquired Walmart Korea in 2006 and is considered the leading retailer when it comes to the discount store market.
E-mart offers everything you can think of. From clothes, toys and diapers to food, pet food and even some chains having a pet store. Koreans enjoy shopping at their local e-mart to get the best deals for their everyday basic necessities.E-mart has several branches at different parts of Asia such as Vietnam, Mongolia and China.
Lotte Mart is a large hypermarket operated by the conglomerate Lotte Corporation. It is one of the many business units of Lotte Shopping.
Lotte mart sells a variety of different products that range from clothes, electronics and groceries to korean traditional goods such as ginseng. Lotte mart offers many great seasonal discounts with additional perks if you have a lotte membership card.
Homeplus is another hypermarket you’ll find just about almost anywhere in South Korea. It sells everything from home appliances to clothes and even groceries. Homeplus also has its own online shopping service.
The mart first was established by Samsung C&T Corporation in 1997. In two years, a joint venture between Samsung and world renown british retailer Tesco launched by the name of SamsungTesco. It became the second largest retailer in Korea behind E-mart. Homeplus was then acquired by MBK Partners.
Homeplus has a wide range of products from overseas and domestic brands. If you can’t seem to find what you need at Korean traditional stores, then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check out your local Homeplus.
Supermarkets in South Korea
If you just need to buy some groceries, rather than travelling far to the nearest hypermarket, then Supermarkets are probably the next best thing. These supermarkets offer most of the items found in the food section at hypermarkets.
Nonghyup Hanaro Mart
Nonghyp Hanaro Mart is a large supermarket chain that can be found all across South Korea. They sell mostly groceries produced by local farmers and domestic Korean brands.
Hanaro mart is one of Korea’s oldest supermarkets which began operation in 1970’s. It was originally formed under the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (Nonhyup) to help promote balanced development to the national economy.
Hanaro mart is a great place to get awesome deals when buying groceries. They’ll have a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables all produced by local farmers.
Unlike a its superstore, Homeplus Express is catered more to provide locals with affordable groceries. The range of selection is much smaller compared to its larger counterpart, but you’ll still be able to buy your fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and local korean goods.
Homeplus express is normally located in areas where there aren’t so many large markets nearby, they serve as an alternative for those who need groceries but don’t want to travel that far.
It would also be a good idea to sign up for a Homeplus membership card if you plan to shop often at either Homeplus or Homeplus express.
Lotte Super, similar to Homeplus Express, functions as a supermarket that can be found throughout South Korea. You can buy all your groceries such as fresh vegetables, fruits, drinks, milk, eggs and other Korean goods. The smaller variant is known as Lotte Mysuper, which is more like a neighborhood grocery store.
If you’re planning to shop at Lotte Super quite often, then it maybe in your best interest to sign up for a Lotte membership card. This will allow you to save more when making larger purchases.
Wholesale Markets in South Korea
When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, then there’s no better place than shopping at Wholesale Markets in South Korea. You can buy high quality goods at the best deal possible. However, the catch is that you’ll need to bulk purchases as this would eliminate the operating costs.
If you live in South Korea with a family, then these wholesale retailers may be the best place to go shopping. You may also grab a couple of other friends and go shopping together, sharing what you need and splitting costs to save even more.
If you’ve ever been to a Costco, then you’ll know exactly what to expect the moment you land at a local Korean Costco wholesale store in Seoul or in other parts of South Korea.
Costco Wholesale requires a membership in order to shop at their branches, which need to be renewed annually. If you already have an existing Costco Membership that you’ve received from the US or any other country, you’ll be able to use it in any Costco branch in South Korea as well.
A great tip would be to bring some cash with you, Costco is known for accepting limited types of credit cards.
E-mart Traders is Shinsegae’s response to Costco. It is usually described as the Korean Costco, where it operates, feels and functions very similar to Costco. It’s a warehouse style bulk retailer that sells more local Korean products at lower prices compared to import products.
If you’re the type of person who shops at E-mart quite often and would rather buy bulk, then it would be worth visiting an E-mart Traders near you.
Unlike Costco, E-mart Traders doesn’t require a membership in order to shop at their branches. However, you may apply for a membership to receive better deals and save more.
Another great place to shop for bulk would be Vic Market. This large warehouse style bulk retailer is an offshoot and business unit of Lotte Shopping, owned by the Lotte Corporation.
Similar to Costco, you’ll need to sign up for an annual membership in order to shop at Vic Market. This may be a great idea in the long run, if you’re staying in Korea for quite some time. You can save much more money by buying bulk.
Convenience Stores in South Korea
Convenience Stores are quite literally littered everywhere in South Korea. If there aren’t any supermarkets nearby, convenience stores are some of the best places to buy snacks, drinks and even liquor.
Convenient Stores in Korea are very convenient in Korea. Many of them give you the option to pay your utility bills, recharge your T-money and some of them even have a parcel delivery service.
Many convenience stores these days also sell their own company brand products at a cheaper price compared to other famous brand products.
List of Stores
- CU (formerly known as Family Mart)