Advertising Trends in South Korea: Statistics for 2020

Advertising Trends in South Korea in 2020

South Korea is one of the largest advertising markets in the world, with over $10 billion spent annually on advertising. Korea's online video ad spending has also continually increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this market's knack for following the latest trends in the global sphere, South Korean brands have underwent immense digital transformation, which can also be seen in its latest advertising habits.

This 2022, 98% of South Korea's population are internet users, while 91.2% are social media users. Brands tend to ride with the latest waves in the market, making social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram the preferred channels to launch marketing and advertising campaigns.

Adoption and use of digital services in South Korea 2022

Though online channels are preferred, advertising in South Korea still makes use of offline channels such as broadcasting, outdoor advertising, and print.

In this article, we have collated the top advertising and marketing trends in South Korea in 2020 which continue to be relevant in 2022. This list aims to help marketers, advertisers, and brand owners gain some insights on how get this nation's attention and consequently drive conversions. Let's take a look!

Advertising Trends in Korea in 2020 ⬇️

  1. Broadcast Advertising

  2. Online Advertising

  3. Outdoor Advertising

  4. Print Advertising

  5. Gender Distribution of Employees in the Advertising Market

1. Broadcast Advertising Market in Korea

Broadcast Advertising Market Size in South Korea in 2019 - 2021
Data from KOBACO, Chart Made by AJ Marketing

The size of the broadcasting advertisement market appears to have decreased by 5.7% (approximately $193.6 million) in 2020 compared to 2019 in all markets, especially in terrestrial media like TV, Digital Multimedia Broadcasting or DMB, radio.

Terrestrial television is a type of television broadcasting in which the television signal is transmitted by radio waves from the terrestrial or Earth-based transmitter of a television station to a TV receiver with an antenna.

Other platforms like satellite broadcast of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) saw noticeable yet not-so-drastic changes.

In addition, after 20 years, the overall trend of broadcasting media has been on the decline as more companies choose newer and more effective methods of advertising- such as using artificial intelligence and influencer marketing.

2. Online Advertising Market in Korea

Online advertising market size in South Korea, 2019-2021
Data from KOBACO, Chart Made by AJ Marketing

Internet is a medium that showed steady growth every year, and it was estimated that in 2020, online advertising expenditures will increase by 11.5% (about $670.4 million) compared to 2019. The upward trend is expected to grow by about 9.4% in 2021.

Mobile advertising in particular showed a sharp increase every year, and as of 2017, it has surpassed the advertising cost of internet advertising. This can be attributed to the fact that more people than ever own smartphones in South Korea.

Smartphones are rendered almost useless without applications, and the applications that we use cleverly monetize our usage through heavy exposure of paid advertisements. It was estimated that in 2020, mobile advertising will reach about 3.2 times that of internet advertising, and about 3.4 times by 2021.

3. Outdoor Advertising Market in Korea

Outdoor advertising market size in south korea 2019-2021
Data from KOBACO, Chart Made by AJ Marketing

In the outdoor advertising market, advertising expenses in 2020 were estimated to decrease by 21.2% (about $241.1 million) compared to 2019.

Outdoor advertising market is the media most affected by COVID-19 as less people spend time outside. With more people staying home, lesser money was spent towards advertisements that are visible in public areas, such as subway stations or freeways.

Besides outdoor advertising, entertainment advertising decreased by 55.2%, which was estimated to decrease by more than half in 2020. Entertainment advertisements include product placement, celebrity endorsements or event sponsorships.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there have been far less opportunities within this sector to advertise in. However, with lockdown restrictions slowly beginning to lift and in-person events being introduced again, entertainment advertisement was expected to recover.

4. Print Advertising Market in Korea

Print advertising market size in South Korea 2019-2021
Data from KOBACO, Chart Made by AJ Marketing

It was found that the advertising expenditure in the print advertising market in 2020 decreased by 5.0% (approximately $106.8 million) compared to 2019. Print advertising has been steadily becoming less and less popular for a decade now, so this decrease in market size did not come as a surprise even with the economic damages caused by COVID-19.

5. Gender Distribution of Employees in the Advertising Market

Distribution of Employees in Korean Advertising by Gender 2020
Data from KOBACO, Table Made by AJ Marketing

An interesting report to analyze is the gender distribution of employees within the advertising market of South Korea. Like the United States and other western countries, men dominate the gender distribution in this particular field.

There are a total of 25,082 advertising workers in the media, and it was surveyed that there are about 10,000 more men than women.

By media, newspapers have the largest number of workers, followed by magazines and outdoor advertising outlets. Generally speaking, advertising is a male-dominated field in most countries, including South Korea.

However, more women have been entering advertising and PR field in the past 5 years, and the trend has been steadily increasing.


Advertising trends in South Korea have changed over the decade due to digital transformation and the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the size of the broadcasting advertisement market appears to have decreased significantly, online advertising has taken its place as more and more people spend their time online. Mobile advertising, in particular, has seen a huge success for many brands.

The outdoor advertising market is expected to make a recovery as the COVID-19 vaccine rolled out in South Korea in February 2020. For other markets like print advertising, the trend continues downwards.

South Korea is a major consumer nation, and for any brand wanting to make expansion in Asia, this country should not be overlooked. If you are interested to know more about advertising and marketing in South Korea, check the AJ Marketing Blog.

Contact Us

AJ Marketing | Unlock the Power of Influence

Instagram | LinkedIn | Pinterest