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Coupang is No. 1 in survey despite big losses

Sept 03,2019
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Despite snowballing losses, Coupang remains the e-commerce king.

The company ranked No.1 among Korea’s top six e-commerce sites by customer satisfaction in a survey of 1,200 online shoppers conducted by the Korea Consumer Agency last May.

Coupang scored 3.72 points out of five, ahead of No. 2 Gmarket (3.66 points). From Gmarket to No. 5 Auction, customer satisfaction points ranged between 3.64 and 3.66 points. Interpark scored sixth, with 3.56 points.

The overall score was calculated based on responses to a set of questions about user experiences and views, from service quality to image.

Nine-year-old Coupang received top scores in terms of service quality, providing information and a positive brand image.

A notable win was in “speed and accuracy in delivery” - an area the company has been heavily investing in over the last few years with its “Coupang men” and “rocket delivery” service, which get parcels on doorsteps the day after purchase.

In this category, Coupang scored 3.85 points out of five, landing far ahead of Gmarket and Naver.

The revenue of the e-commerce leader has grown in steadily, but the company has always reported losses. Questions have been raised about its sustainability.

The company has defended itself, saying that its aim is to be Korea’s Amazon and that Amazon was also in the red until recently. It says it needs to pour investment in to pull in more users and grow in size. Monday’s survey results show that at least in terms of its goal to satisfy customers, Coupang’s ongoing investment is bearing fruit.

Naver and Auction received highest satisfaction scores for having the most diverse lineup of products sold online. Auction also did better than rivals in offering price cuts and other promotional benefits to its users. Gmarket received high marks for being strong in handling customer complaints. In system security, 11st obtained the No. 1 spot.

The survey also studied how much local consumers spend on e-commerce and what products they purchase online.

Thirty-four percent of the 1,200 respondents said they spend between 50,000 won ($41) to 100,000 for one-time purchases. The 100,000 won to 150,000 won range came in second, with 21.5 percent of votes, followed by the less than 50,000 won category, at 20.6 percent.

Food and clothing were the most popular items sold via e-commerce. Forty percent said they buy food most frequently, while 31.1 percent said clothing was their favorite item for online shopping.

Meanwhile, three among 10 respondents said they had experienced inconvenience while purchasing goods from e-commerce sites, like faulty products, lost deliveries and refund or exchange hassles.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]