In 2017, Korean super group BTS were the reason for one in every 13 tourists visiting South Korea. Now, they reportedly bring in over $3.6 billion a year to the country’s economy.
The seven-person boy band became the first South Korean group to top the album charts in the U.S. Their trend-setting style and meticulously choreographed performances contribute the same to the Korean economy as 26 mid-sized companies, states a report published by Hyundai Research Institute. Okay, the first accolade I can wrap my mind around. The second is a bit mind-blowing. How does one band represent such a substantial bump to a country’s economy?
For every new fan BTS gain, South Korean products become more popular the world over. In a mere six years, the band has released 11 full-length and compilation albums, five EPs, and six tours. Not to mention all of their fan meetups, press, and television appearances.
It’s not just ticket sales, merch, and streaming revenue. Their star power applies to products from Korea in general. According to the study, about $1 billion in consumer exports — clothes, cosmetics, and food — were associated with BTS.
Their appeal also translates to tourism. As BTS songs and albums climb the charts, so does South Korea on people’s bucket list trip locations. It’s believed that about 800,000 tourists chose to visit South Korea last year because of BTS, which represents just over 7% of the total visitors to the country.
Hyundai Research Institute’s study concluded with a staggering number. If BTS maintain their popularity, they stand to bring in $37 billion to South Korea over the next 10 years. As if I didn’t have a hard enough time wrapping my mind around $3.6 billion.