October 18, 2021

S. Korea sees record number of delivery workers amid pandemic

PUBLISHED : September 01, 2021 - 17:50

UPDATED : September 01, 2021 - 17:50

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With people preferring delivery services to abide by social distancing rules during the COVID-19 pandemic, South Korea saw a record number of delivery workers last year, data showed on September 1. 

The total number of delivery workers here grew 11.8 percent on-year to a record 390,000 as of end-December, Statistics Korea data showed.

Those who classify as delivery workers here are letter carriers, couriers, people working for food delivery services, newspaper deliverers and more.

The number of delivery workers stood at 322,000 as of end 2013. It hovered in the range of 310,000 to 350,000 from 2014 to 2019 then jumped to 371,000 in the first half of last year.

Buoyed by virus-wary customers, the value of online and mobile food delivery services jumped 78.6 percent on-year to 17.4 trillion won ($15 billion).

E-commerce giant Coupang’s annual revenue nearly doubled last year from the previous year. It reported 13.9 trillion won in sales, compared with 7.1 trillion won the previous year, according to the company’s regulatory filing. Coupang debuted on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this year.

On top of that, the nation’s 18 courier companies handled nearly 3.38 billion items last year, up 21 percent on-year, according to the data, which was submitted to and released by a lawmaker.

“In the post-COVID era, the job market and the industries face changes focused on increase in jobs that doesn’t require face-to-face contact,” Rep. Yang Kyung-sook of the ruling Democratic Party said.

“The government should come up with measures that won’t put economic pressure on the disadvantaged due to the changes in the work environment,” she added.

By Jung Min-kyung (

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