Ajumma mobile shoppers

Smartphones are now mundane communication device among ajummas in Korea. They use smartphones not only for communicating, but also for consuming digital products as well. The number of ajumma mobile shoppers are growing and they purchase both tangible and intangible products for example, clothes (tangible) and apps or ebooks (intangible). They were used to be TV home shopping lovers so there were various products aimed specifically at ajumma customers on TV home shopping channels. Ajummas are still important customers for TV home shopping in Korea but these ajummas are not watching TV home shopping channels on the couch any more. They are now shopping at mobile shops through their smartphones without barriers of time and space.

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ajummas are ‘smartphoneing’ in the subway, Seoul 2014

Young women (younger than ajummas, I can say their age range is from early-20s to mid-30s) and Moms (early 30s to early 40s, usually they have young children-infants to around 15 years old-these Moms are not to be yet ajummas, it is like pre-ajumma level I can say), they are biggest consumers of mobile shopping but now ajummas become ‘mobile shoppers’. For this reason, many of mobile shopping sites provide specified products that are aimed for ajumma consumers.

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image from ‘Azmang’ :department store for ajumma (they said) of Mobile Auction.co.kr (http://itempage3.auction.co.kr/DetailView.aspx?itemno=B299375605).


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image from ‘Madame Sense’ of Mobile Gmarket.co.kr (http://item2.gmarket.co.kr/item/detailview/Item.aspx?goodscode=341536165&pos_class_cd=111111111&pos_class_kind=T&pos_shop_cd=SH&keyword_order=madame+sense&keyword_seqno=8931769789&search_keyword=madame+sense).

Like photos I attached above, those mobile shops sell clothes especially for ajumma customers. They actually categorise those clothes as ‘Mom’s clothes, Ajumma clothes etc’. You can tell those clothes are very ajummarous items (according to stereotyped images of ajummas as I mentioned before). This is good development that mobile shops concern ajumma customers and it tells the number of ajumma mobile shoppers are increasing constantly. However, I would like say something about this.

Well, I don’t feel happy with some mobile shops that target to especially ajummas. Some of mobile shops sell limited items. I mean those sellers (maybe) have biased views about ajummas’ fashion tastes. When I google mobile shops for ajummas (or middle-aged women) I can find shops like above. I don’t know what I have to say exactly but I feel those mobile shops for ajummas (especially shops for fashion items) are quite different from shops for younger women (or non-ajummas I can say).

Whenever I go to Namdaemun market with my mum, there are several fashion malls especially for ajummas and their clothes are really fashionable (good designs, better quality, beautiful combination of colours and textures, trendy etc.). But what do you think about those clothes that I uploaded above? I think mobile shops especially for ajummas are not good enough yet. I’m sure they’re improving continuously but unfortunately there are not various choices for ajummas when they do mobile shopping yet.

Ajummas are not smart ajumma, I said. They’re using smartphones in their everyday practices in many ways for various purposes. Mobile shopping is no exception. Ajumma mobile shoppers will be increasing dramatically and I really hope there will be more and better mobile shops for ajummas.

Remember, ajumma power is amazing.

Ajumma vs Nuna (older/big sister)

It’s 2016!

I start blogging since last December as a part of my PhD project, ‘Smart Ajumma’. In this blog, I would like to introduce various photos of ajummas in Korea and the blog posts are more similar to written records like diary rather than academic thesis. I hope people in Korea and anywhere get chances to comprehend who ajummas are and redefine what ajummas are through having interactive communication on this blog for example making comments. So please come to this blog often and feel free to share your ideas about ajummas or Korea. Happy New Year again!

I went to Namdaemun Market today. Namdaemun Market is always my favourite to visit since I was very young (with my mum). There are small old shops in every alley ways and especially I loved to buying some imported snacks (e.g. sweets from USA) in Namdaemun. These days I can find them everywhere but it was rarely sold when I was very young.

Going to Namdaemum Market is not difficult by public transport (e.g. bus) from my town. Whenever I go to Namdaemun Market, I can have a chance to visit variety of shops in Myeong-dong because they are located close with each other. In addition, I can see many ajummas in Namdaemun Market especially a small shopping mall that is called ‘Common Plaza’. They sell mostly women’s clothing especially for middle-aged women, ajummas, whose age range is around over 50. Whenever I visit there, I never seen a male or a  younger female customer except me.

In that shopping mall (it is located in Namdaemun Market), I feel like I’m visiting an island of ajummas. It looks like someone bring all of those ajumma customers from somewhere (special planet) we never been before. So many ajummas with having similar hair styles, fashion styles and even body figures! (similar height etc.)

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Unfortunately, I couldn’t see many ajummas today because the weather wasn’t good and I arrived there almost at closing time (1:30 pm). For this reason, I headed to the street stall where it sells red bean porridge nearby that shopping mall. There are no table neither chair but customers still can enjoy their porridge. And most customers of this porridge stall are ajummas. Thus, I brought my porridge and leaned against the wall like other ajummas also do.

Then, a young male was selling cosmetics to those ajummas who were having red bean porridge. Those ajummas looked like over 50 and 60 years old. That young male seller said,

“Nuna! (older/big sister) You have pretty face! Why don’t you concern ‘skin care’ with this product! I guarantee you will be look like 10 years younger than your actual age with using this product!”

Ajummas were laughing together and one of them bought a facial cream from him. This ajumma asked the young male seller taking a selfie together and they took a photo with her smartphone. (Well, that young male seller is a lesser-known comedian so this ajumma wanted to take a selfie together). After selling a facial cream to one of ajummas, he left that place and said to ajummas,

“Nuna! I hope to see you all for next time again!”

Ajummas continued to eat red bean porridge and talked about that comedian who sold cosmetics few minutes ago. I really enjoyed that situation as an observer. How amazing this situation is! The ajummas and a young male seller who wanted to sell cosmetic products to ajummas! He called ajummas as ‘Nuna!’ instead of ‘Ajumma!’ and those ajummas were happy to be called as ‘Nuna!’ rather than ‘Ajumma’.

Yes, ajummas are women. If he call them, “Ajumma!”, was he still able to sell the facial cream? I think these ajummas felt happy because that young male seller call them as ‘Nuna’. Of course these ajummas know this young male seller call them as ‘Nuna’ because he tried to make these ajummas happy as a sort of marketing strategies. However, ajummas still enjoy that moments through communicating with other ajummas and a young male seller.

Why ‘ajumma’ became an unwelcome word to be called among women in Korea?

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Are you ‘ajummarous’?

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(original image from http://www.iworldtoday.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=176220 and I re-edited this image in Keynote)

In most cases, ajummarous women are judged by their appearance.

ajumma hair, fashion and make up style

behaviours (way of talking, loud voice, sitting with their legs apart in the subway, being meddlesome)

Especially, they are being meddlesome. So if you are in the subway and sitting in the cafe or restaurants, ajummas keep talking to you and even asking some personal questions as well. Whenever I travel on the subway in Seoul, I heard ajummas’ conversations. Interestingly, these ajummas never met with each other before, rather they just met on the subway. Their conversations were about everything, such as cooking, children, weather, culture, politics, etc. It might be strange if strangers talk to you on the subway. However, this is their ways of communication which is very ajummarous ways of communication that exists only in Korea.

With one of these ajummarous elements (of course there are more ajummarous elements than I mentioned above), any women can be called or recognised as an ajumma in Korea.

Here are some photos that help you understand what ajummarous elements which define ajummas in general.


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