Go to Main Content
T T

Press Releases

  • A Year of COVID-19: Seoul Citizens Watch More Movies at Home, Cut Down on Working and Commute Hours

  • Press Releases SMG 104
    • Seoul residents increased their hours of sleep and house chores while cut down on working hours, commutes, and beauty routines during the pandemic, according to a Seoul Metropolitan Government report.
    • Seoul citizens devoted more time to house chores and education, as many of them stayed at home in line with social distancing mandates. Their hours of work and commute fell across all sections of the society, the report said.
    • Those between the ages of 18-29 and 40-49, as well as the unemployed, self-employed business owners, and unemployed married women saw the biggest changes in daily routines.
    • Their sleeping increased as a result of less working hours, and self-employed business owners, in particular, saw their hours of household chores and their use of media increase as many of them had to suspend or cut down on operations in line with social distancing measures.

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, February 9, 2021 – Seoul residents increased their hours of sleep and house chores while cut down on hours of work, commute, and beauty routines during the pandemic, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said.

    The city’s report compared the daily routines and patterns of 1,000 Seoul citizens between the ages of 18 and 69 before and after the COVID-19 outbreak, between November 2019 and November 2020. South Korea reported its first patient to test positive for COVID-19 on January 20, 2020.

    According to the report, Seoul citizens found they increased their hours of sleep across all strata of society due to social distancing measures. Average sleeping hours for those between the ages of 18 and 29 grew by 19 minutes and saw the most significant increase among all age groups.

    Sleeping hours for those left without jobs rose 15 minutes, double the gains for those who were employed.

    Hours of grooming and beauty care and physical workouts shrank by an average of 12 minutes, with the biggest decrease seen among career housewives or unemployed married women, the report said.

    And as more Seoul citizens stayed at home in line with social distancing mandates, their hours of house chores and education rose while their hours of work and commute fell across all sections of the society.

    Household chores increased by an average of four minutes for all age groups and demographics, with the exception of those between the ages of 60 and 69 and employed married women.

    The period of household chores for those with jobs grew by one minute, while those with selfowned businesses increased by a whopping 20 minutes, illustrating the sharp changes in daily routines among the different spectrum of society. Unemployed married women were found to be spending about 30 minutes more on household chores than employed women.

    Hours of leisure for Seoul residents increased by an average of 19 minutes. Their use of media, online and mobile games increased while outdoor activities such as culture and tourism, dating and interactive activities, sports and leisure declined.

    Those between the ages of 18-19, and 60-69 increased their hours perusing or watching various media, while those between 40 and 49 increased their online and mobile gaming hours.

    Hours devoted to culture and tourism, dating, and interactive activities slumped across the board, most notably among unemployed women, including housewives, and self-employed business owners. The average time devoted to sports and leisure also fell by four minutes.

    The age groups and demographic that saw the biggest change in daily routines and patterns were those between 18-29 and 40-49, as well as the unemployed, self-employed business owners, and unemployed married women.

    These specific groups saw their sleeping hours increase as a result of decreased working hours, and self-employed business owners, in particular, saw their hours of household chores as well as the use of media increase as many of them had to suspend or cut down on operations in line with social distancing measures.

    Unemployed married women also saw their hours of household chores increase while their time for dating and interactive activities and personal grooming regimen declined.

    The citizens spent more time on non-contact or online indoor activities with the use of media, such as Netflix and YouTube, taking the lion’s share at 50 percent. This was followed by watching online performances (48.5%), cultural and tourism (48.5%), online PC or mobile gaming (32.7%), and video conferencing, and attending online religious services (30%).

    “The report analyzing changes in daily patterns before and after the virus outbreak was a testament to the level of civic duty shown by Seoul citizens,” Lee Won-Mok, Director General of Smart City Policy at the Seoul Metropolitan Government. “We will make use of the data gleaned from the analysis as a baseline for future policy to provide a better work-life balance, thereby improving the quality of life for Seoul citizens in a post-COVID-19 era.”