The Korea Consumer Agency announced on the 7th that 52.7% of K-pop fans buy albums for the purpose of collecting fandom goods, with only 5.7% actually listening to music on CDs.
Over the past four years (2019-2022), the 1372 Consumer Counseling Center received 903 consumer complaints related to fandom marketing. Among the types of complaints, 200 cases (22.1%) were related to product delivery delay and non-delivery, followed by 168 cases (18.6%) of quality defects and product defects, and 141 cases (15.6%) of refund and exchange delays. The most common items complained about were 208 photo cards and posters (23.0%) and 124 records and DVDs (13.7%).
A survey of 500 consumers who had experience with paid K-pop fandom activities found that products such as albums (78.9%), photo cards (55.6%), and cheering tools (43.4%) were purchased an average of 4.7 times per year. The average purchase amount was 27.6% from "over 50,000 won to less than 100,000 won," but 2.8% of respondents spent more than 1 million won. The survey also revealed that delivery delays (29.0%), unreasonable pricing (20.6%), and random payment methods (15.2%) were the areas in need of improvement in fandom marketing.
Among the respondents, 75.9% purchased albums for record collection, 52.7% collected goods, and 25.4% applied for events. Among those who purchased records to obtain random goods, 194 people bought an average of 4.1 copies of the same record, with some buying up to 90 copies. Those who bought for the purpose of applying for events purchased an average of 6.7 tickets, with some buying up to 80 tickets.
Only 5.7% of consumers actually used CDs to listen to music, with 83.8% using streaming services for music and videos. Moreover, 67.8% of respondents believed that excessive purchase of records negatively affects the environment.
The Korea Consumer Agency checked 50 types of albums with high sales to investigate fandom marketing related to albums. They found that the albums were released in 128 products according to detailed specifications such as photo books and cases, and each album had an average of 2.6 specifications. Photo cards were the most representative fandom products, with 96.9% of the surveyed albums including random photo cards. The record with the most types of photo cards provided 78 types, and one album contained six types randomly, requiring the purchase of 13 photo cards to collect all types. However, the online purchase detail page of the album investigated only provided information on the type and quantity of goods, without product images.
The Korea Consumer Agency noted that only 11 (22 percent) of the surveyed albums contained digital record specifications without CDs, and recommended businesses to sell goods and records separately and release records considering environmental protection.
Over half of K-pop fans bought the album for the merchandise
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