SEJONG, April 13 (Yonhap) — South Korean households’ spending on lottery tickets rose more than 7 percent in 2020 despite a record fall in their overall consumption, government data showed Tuesday.

Local households spent a monthly average of 590 won (US$0.52) on lottery tickets last year, up 7.2 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Korean Statistical Information Service (KOSIS).

The tally covers both lottery-buying households in Asia’s fourth-largest economy and those that don’t purchase tickets.

The increase came as local households’ consumption expenditures shrank at the fastest pace in 2020 due to the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

South Korean households’ consumption expenditures decreased 2.3 percent last year from 2019, the largest drop since data tracking began in 2006.

Sales of lottery tickets are usually brisk during an economic downturn. Stung by the COVID-19 pandemic, the local economy contracted 1 percent in 2020 from a year earlier.

Sales of Lotto, the most popular offline lottery ticket in the country, surged 9.3 percent on-year to a new high of some 4.7 trillion won ($4.18 billion), according to finance ministry data.

According to a survey of 1,020 South Korean adults, nearly 57 percent said they have purchased lottery tickets during the past year.