South Korean households spent a record KRW4.3 trillion ($3.96 billion) on liquor and cigarettes between July and September—6.2 percent more than in the same period the previous year, reports The Korea Herald, citing data from the country’s central bank.
The figure marks the highest quarterly figure since the central bank started keeping records in 1970.
The bump in spending follows stricter social distancing measures as coronavirus cases surged in South Korea.
Economic slumps have led to an increase in alcohol and tobacco spending in the past.
The first and second quarters of 1997 saw liquor and cigarettes spending increase by 20 percent and 18.6 percent, respectively, in the runup to the Asian financial crisis.
According to data from Statistics Korea, South Korean households spent an average of KRW43,000 on alcohol and tobacco during the same period, posting a 10.7 percent year-on-year increase.