Marketplace Focus | Gmarket of South Korea

Gmarket is an online auction and shopping mall that is part of eBay Korea: the marketplace is so proud of being the ‘first Korean ecommerce’ site that they include the claim in their logo. Currently, Gmarket is a leader in the local ecommerce market, with 34.8% of the total desktop reach, but they are fighting a hard battle with Southeast Asian marketplace, 11Street, which owns 34.2% of desktop reach.

korea, gmarket, ecommerce
[Top retail ecommerce site in South Korea, by desktop unique visitors, 2017; million and %, reach. Source:, 2017]

South Korean ecommerce in brief

Gmarket operates in a very competitive market, with South Korea ranked 7th in total B2C ecommerce sales globally, ahead of Canada, India and Russia, with a high spend per online shopper. Per capita, Korea has the world’s third highest online spending figure at USD$4,018 per annum – in comparison, the United Kingdom leads the index with $4,018 per capita per annum.

These high-rankings are related to strong technological development. The nation has the highest global smartphone ownership rate, with 100% of households having access to the internet.  There is also no major difference in usage of internet between the age groups, as people in their 20s use it almost as much as people in their 50s.

Korean Internet Usage, ecommerce gmarket
[Korean Internet usage rate by age, source:, 2017]

Gmarket and eBay

The origin of Gmarket goes back to Young Bae Ku’s personal site which had a large section dedicated to ecommerce. Then, in June 2009, the site was acquired by eBay for USD$1.2bn and is now headquartered in Seoul, South Korea in the famous Gangnam District.

Since then, the marketplace has grown massively and is now well known in the region, especially for:

  • home appliances & electronics (11% of sales)
  • clothing (10.6%)
  • home & car accessories (10.2%)
  • cosmetics (7.9%)
  • computers (6.2%).

When eBay bought Gmarket, the Californian giant decided to treat the deal as a partnership in order to bring onboard the local expertise necessary to thrive in a market that was seen as quite different from the Western ones that they were used to. As Lorrie Norrington, president of eBay marketplaces explained;

“eBay’s partnership with Mr. Young Bae Ku is a sign of our continued commitment to help grow and lead ecommerce across Asia by offering more opportunities for sellers and extraordinary buying experiences for consumers.”

The marketplace is still working hard in order to develop,

“a wide range of service that satisfies the customers beyond their expectations, and by making sellers and customers connected every time and everywhere”.

To serve this purpose, the platform offers strong loyalty and discounting programmes based on different membership grade: Gstamps and Smile Points allow a customer to get money off as well as monthly promotional coupons for additional discounts, advertised on the page.

Other services available are related to a wide payment system: if a purchase is made from outside Korea, PayPal and Alipay are accepted as well as foreign credit and debit cards such as Visa and Mastercard. If the purchase comes from Korea, Union Pay and a wide range of Korean cards are accepted: KB, Woori, BC cards and Bank Transfer.

Extending Gmarket’s reach

While Gmarket’s ecommerce offering is clearly dedicated to Korean consumers, it is also available in English and Chinese, not only to serve the large Chinese community in Korea, but also to invite thousands of Chinese shoppers to make cross-border purchases, as international ecommerce is a primary goal for eBay in the region. Indeed, the platform has recently opened its doors to international markets by signing an agreement with the Japanese marketplace Rakuten, since both companies see a strong future in cross-border trade.

Across borders, the most popular foreign sourced products from online retailers by Koreans are:

  • dietary supplements (16%)
  • cosmetics (14%)
  • food (13%)
  • apparel (12%)
  • footwear (8%)
  • electronics (7%)

Sell on Gmarket

If you would like to find out more about Gmarket, or any of our global marketplaces, get in touch with us by calling: +44 (0)20 8940 5392, emailing: or tweeting us: @wearepentagon.


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