A 36-year-old man who works for a marketing company in Seoul started a new hobby in November: cross stitch.
It was with his girlfriend’s recommendation, and he said he’s having a lot of fun these days since the pandemic forces him to stay indoors and spend a lot of time at home.
“Unlike my friends who relieve stress by playing online games, I am more stressed out when playing computer games,” the man said. “Cross stitch is very helpful in calming my mind and is actually a lot of fun. So I really enjoy cross stitch these days in my free time.
But the cross stitch is not his only hobby. He recently started learning flower arrangement through YouTube videos.
“It’s really good that I can learn flower arrangement through online videos because I don’t have to worry about what other people think of me,” he added. “I can also buy related materials online, so I suggested cross stitches and flower arrangements to everyone I know. ”
More and more Korean men are now turning to such hobbies to spend their free time as the coronavirus pandemic prevents them from enjoying outdoor activities.
According to Gmarket, sales of handcrafted materials bought by men climbed 259% in January and February compared to the same period a year earlier. Sales of cross-stitch materials jumped 81 percent year-on-year, while sales of knitting materials increased 32 percent year-on-year.
During the same period, flower sales to male customers through Gmarket increased 151% year on year. Sales of pruning shears, which are used for flower arranging, were up 20 percent, while sales of plant pots climbed 48 percent year on year.
A 42-year-old banker recently signed up for a drawing learning course on Class101, an online course platform.
“I’ve always loved to draw, and I guess there are a lot of men who are like me,” he said. “There are so many online drawing lessons these days, and a lot of men are interested in them. ”
On SSG.com, sales of cross stitch materials purchased by men climbed 55% from January to February compared to the same period a year earlier. Sales of knitting-related materials increased 32 percent, while sales of gardening products increased 10 percent.
As demand increases, companies scramble to strengthen their product lines and marketing strategies.
Gmarket has recently introduced various kinds of products which can easily remove flower thorns. This includes polyvinyl chloride gloves with soft tips so that people can easily remove the thorns from the flower stems.
The online retailer has also introduced a product that allows customers to make dolls from felted wool. The product includes all materials, as well as instructions.
“In addition to online games, more and more male customers are interested in new hobbies such as flower arranging and crafts these days, as many outdoor activities are prohibited due to of the virus pandemic, “said a spokesperson for Gmarket. “As customers are allowed to buy all the material online and learn through online videos, this has also contributed to the demand. ”
BY BAEK MIN-JEONG, CHEA SARAH [[email protected]]