SEOUL, Feb. 22 (Yonhap) — Service output in 15 provinces and major cities declined last year as the new coronavirus outbreak dealt a blow to the face-to-face service segments, data showed Monday.

The country’s service output fell 2 percent last year, according to Statistics Korea. Excluding Seoul, six cities and nine provinces posted an on-year fall in service output in 2020.

Service output in Seoul — home to about one-fifth of the country’s 51.6 million population — gained 1.1 percent in 2020 on the back of robust gains in the financial and property sectors amid skyrocketing stock and housing prices.’

The southern resort island of Jeju reported the biggest decline in service output by falling 10.4 percent on-year. Incheon, west of Seoul, saw its service output decline 9.8 percent.

The country’s service sector was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as people refrained from visiting shops to avoid infection risks.

Retail sales fell in eight cities and provinces last year, the data showed.

Jeju Island suffered the biggest fall in retail sales with a 26.9 percent on-year decline as demand for duty-free products was dented by the pandemic.

Retail sales in Seoul and Incheon fell 9 percent and 8.5 percent on-year, respectively, last year, the data showed.

Meanwhile, production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries inched up 0.4 percent on-year last year.

Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital reported a 9 percent on-year gain in such products on increased production of electronics goods and chips.

But industrial production in Seoul fell 14.7 percent last year, the sharpest decline among 17 cities and provinces, the data showed.