SEOUL, May 6 (UPI) -- Many South Koreans are heading outdoors as the COVID-19 coronavirus shows signs of stabilizing and the government lifts social distancing guidelines. But the pandemic may have a lasting impact on consumer behavior -- instead of using hotels, many travelers are now sleeping in cars.
Social commerce platform WeMakePrice said Wednesday sales of in-vehicle sleeping pads jumped more than sixfold last month, compared to a year before.
Along the same line, the sales of dome-to-go hatchback tents rose sixfold in April compared to last year. These hatchback tents wrap around the trunk area of cars to expand available sleeping space.
"While people want to get back out there, they still seem to care about the virus," a WeMakePrice representative told UPI News Korea. "We plan to come up with products to meet new related demand."
South Korea saw the worst of its COVID-19 outbreak in late February and early March, but the number of new infections per day has dipped to around 10 or fewer in recent weeks. For the third day in a row, South Korea reported only imported COVID-19 cases from incoming travelers on Wednesday.
While some Koreans look for new ways to limit their exposure to the virus while enjoying the great outdoors, many are still opting to stay at home and keep up social distancing practices.
As a result, the popularity of water purifiers, air purifiers, automatic dishwashers and massage chairs have gone up during the pandemic.
SK Magic, a Seoul-based home appliance manufacturer, said the number of customers using its dishwasher rental services surged 160 percent in the first quarter from a year ago.
"COVID-19 has benefited our business. As our customers eat mostly at home, more and more appear to rent our dishwashers," an SK Magic official told UPI News Korea.
In March, Chungho Nais even came up with a portable air purifier, which the company said has become popular with health-conscious shoppers.