Last year, Statistics Korea revealed that more than 80 percent of Koreans experienced daily fatigue. Due to endless workloads and demanding schoolwork, people today are exhausted. A number of franchises and businesses have reacted to this state of affairs by launching new services designed to alleviate weariness. Energy drinks are just one example of what might be called. Today, Fatigue businesses are set to capitalize on the burgeoning demand from consumers for more energy.
Such businesses produce merchandises and provide services that aim to help anyone fight off exhaustion. These products and services can often be identified by the tagline “good for relieving fatigue.” This trend is reflected in today’s food market. The demand for energy drinks, for example, is skyrocketing. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the consumption of energy drinks experienced a 24 percent increase from 2009 to 2010—a huge increase compared to the 10 percent of consumption during 1999 to 2000. Trash bins overflowing empty energy drink cans and bottles are a common sight in school libraries, factories, and offices, anywhere people need a jolt to keep their eyes open and the work juices flowing. Moreover, people can get their daily dose of vitamin C to keep thesniffles at bay.
Functional food products for eliminating exhaustion are on many people’s shopping lists, and almost every drinks claim they contain vitamin C, which is known to be effective in keeping people awake. This mainstream trend is prevalent in Korean society as well. Think of the Korean Scholastic Aptitude Test (KSAT)—when parents look for products that help examinees stay focused and awake during the test. Starting from oriental medicines to aroma oils, simply typing in the phrase “eliminating sleep” will display thousands of related products.
While the fatigue business mainly focuses on lessening tiredness, it also focuses on encouraging quality sleep and rest. As statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reveals that most students and workers sleep less than six hours a day, majority of people in Korean society have difficulty enjoying abundant amount of sleep. Since schools and workplaces do not always allow enough time for sleep, people have sought for ways to sleep and rest in the most efficient way within relatively short amount of time.
Therefore, markets have responded by encouraging quality sleep and rest. Workplaces and schools have also encompassed such trend by installing resting rooms, powder rooms for women to stop by, and even massage chairs to rest on. Another example would be some of the services in cinemas today. Last July, the world’s first fully reclining cinema opened in Korea. Collaboration between CGV and Tempur, a bedding company, this movie experience can be enjoyed at the CGV theatres in Apgujeong-dong and Busan Centum Cine d’ Chef. Boasting 15 pairs of beds and a luxurious interior design, these movie houses provide a cozy atmosphere for audiences, along with high-class services.
“It all began from the mattress,” said Kim Sam, the brand manager of Tempur, while telling the behind stories of the birth of the Tempur cinema. After the attempts to come up with a space where mattresses can be experienced freely. the idea of thriving on the comfortable bed while watching movies with ample running time of over two hours caught attention. “The biggest advantage of Tempur cinema is of course, the pleasant atmosphere,” added Kim. “The wide partition between coupled seats allows the audience to stay in their most comfortable positions. Other supplementary services such as free welcome drinks, finger snacks, phone chargers, and blankets maximize the coziness of the cinema.” The business was a success. Kim explained that tickets have been sold out even on weekdays, making a prior reservation necessary. “The share rate of seats in Apgujeong-dong was 75 percent before the renewal with Tempur, which rose up to more than 80 percent afterwards,” replied Kim.
▲ Tempur Cinema, where the audience can watch movies in beds. Provided byTempur
Cafés have long been used by people as rest stops where they can take a break and catch their breath. At the moment, theme cafés are trying to provide that respite to weary consumers. There are cafés where customers can spend time with animals, book cafés that offer a wide selection of books to read with a cup of latte, and even napping cafés where the tired and the lazy can lay down together in caffeinated bliss. A distinctive feature of such cafés is that there are special partitions for customers to lie down and nap. There are quiet second-floor rooms covered with curtains, soft pillows to induce sleep, and even hammocks in some napping cafés. The appearance of napping cafés directly reflects the growing demand for places where people can rest their exhausted bodies.
▲ Energy drinks take up much of the beverages sold in convenience stores. Providedby http://cfile24.uf.tistory.com/
Getting a good night’s rest these days is not easy either, thus the bedding industry is doing its best to sell the weary on specially designed mattresses and pillows. The Yano Research Institute reported bedding product sales rose from 480 billion won in 2011 to 600 billion won last year, a 25 percent rise in three years. Once people have purchased the perfect bed, there are health foods such as sleep-inducing teas and sleep disorder treatments for those who have trouble sleeping. This implies people’s increasing desire to sleep most efficiently within the limited amount of time.
The rise of such businesses is guaranteed. Koreans, young and old, poor and rich, kindergartner and retired grandparents, all complain about being tired. There are ready-made markets in Korea for such products. Fatiguebusiness reflects the heated competition and overwhelming workload in the Korean society, as well as in other countries. Working overtime and staying up all night are considered as the modern bible in workplaces and schools. Governmental measures have been enacted to solve this problem, a major example being the five-day workweek. Despite the policy, as tired workers have invested their extra free time on sleeping, there is still lack of spare time for people to enjoy leisure. To the vicious cycle of continuous workload and fatigue, fatigue business responded with the antidotes.
▲ A dog café located in Seoul. Provided by event.danawa.com
It can be said that the rise of fatigue business is a bittersweet portrait of the Korean society. The seemingly endless cycle of busy routine demands people to reach out their hands toward the products of fatigue business. Amidst the sad reality that there are, and will be more work to complete throughout the remaining life, fatigue business hands out a small consolation. Although people suffer from lack of free time, fatigue business will be an opportunity to recover their breath.