Updated: Apr 14, 2022
"$ 3,000 USD lease for 12 months," that's what my friend, a typical 25 year old single male living in a Seoul one-room (16.5m² to 33m²), told me when he bought a Louis Vuitton backpack. This is coming from someone who doesn't even make $2,000 for a month!
"How much did you say it was?" I reacted.
"$270 per month," he said.
Why can't young Koreans, like my friend, stop themselves from leasing luxury items with high interest?
Young Koreans standing in line for luxury items. Photo via Creatrip.
Here are two major facts:
1. For the investment.
Depending on the product, most of fancy brands can be resold at a higher price. Knowing this, young Koreans are investing for their future. However, many of these people don't even have enough money to survive every month! They end up in this vicious cycle of paying high interest every month and purchasing other high priced items the next month again! There's no guarantee that they'll be able to make a return on investment on that item, since it's fashion. That's when I started to believe these people were pretty crazy! I agree that investing is great thing, but only if you have enough money for basic necessities. Fancy products won't feed you or work for you.
2. Showing off too much.
People who care about appearance so much are also obsessed with what they are wearing and what they are holding. These materialistic types of people always try to make others jealous about what they have. All the while not know that others don't really care. This pressure to conform to the "norm" can lead people purchase fake products, which is illegal in Korea.
Is this too extreme? Are buying fake goods just to fit in the new norm in Korean society?
Let us know your thoughts!