2021 global Hallyu survey reveals top favorite K-dramas, films, actors and K-pop stars

Published January 29, 2021, 7:59 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

(Clockwise from top left Lee Min Ho, BTS, BLACKPINK, Psy, TWICE, EXO, Lee Jong-suk, Song Hye-kyo, Gong Yoo and Hyun Bin (Photos: MYM, Instagram, Twitter) 

An overseas survey conducted by South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) and  Korean Foundation for International Culture Exchange has named the top favorite Korean dramas, movies and actors, and K-pop stars among global Hallyu (Korean Wave) fans. 

The 2021 Overseas Hallyu Survey was conducted from Sept. 24 to Nov. 4, 2020 among 8,500 respondents who experienced Korean cultural content in 2020 in 18 countries and regions: US, UK, China, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, France, Russia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

It revealed that despite the negative impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), consumption of Korean cultural contents including dramas and music outside Korea increased. 

When it comes to Korean Wave awareness, K-pop is the No. 1 choice as representative content of South Korea with 16.8 percent and it maintained the top rank for four consecutive years since 2017. 

In the survey, the respondents wrote their favorite Korean dramas, movies, actors and singers instead of picking them from a list. The results of the survey are: 

Favorite Korean Actors (2020)

1. Lee Min Ho – 9.6 percent 

2. Hyun Bin – 3.5 percent

3. Gong Yoo – 2.3 percent

4. Song Hye-kyo – 2.1 percent

5. Lee Jong-suk – 2 percent 

Lee Min Ho has been the No. 1 choice for three consecutive years while Hyun Bin jumped 12 places from 2019 to place second overall in the latest survey due to the popularity of his drama “Crash Landing on You.” 

In 2019, chosen as favorite actors in the same survey were Lee Min Ho, 7.6 percent; Song Hye-kyo, 3.4 percent; Song Joong-ki, 1.9 percent; Gong Yoo, 1.8 percent; and Suzy and Lee Jong-suk, 1.7 percent. 

Favorite Korean Singers/Groups (2020)

1. BTS – 22 percent 

2. BLACKPINK – 13.5 percent 

3. Psy – 2.9 percent 

4. TWICE – 2.4 percent

5. EXO – 2.1 percent 

In the 2019 survey, the top favorite Korean singers/groups were BTS, 15.2 percent; BLACKPINK, 6.5 percent; Psy, 5.7 percent; TWICE, 2.8 percent; and Big Bang, 2.5 percent.

Favorite Korean dramas (2020)

1. “Crash Landing on You” – 9.5 percent

2. “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” – 4.1 percent

3. “The World of the Married” – 2.8 percent

4. “Itaewon Class” – 2.8 percent 

5. “Kingdom” – 2.5 percent 

In the 2019 survey, the top drama picks were “Hotel del Luna,” 8.2 percent; “Descendants of the Sun,” 3 percent; “Jewel in the Palace,” 2.3 percent; “Kingdom,” 2.1 percent; and “Goblin” and “Her Private Life,” 2 percent. 

Favorite Korean Films (2020)

1. “Parasite” – 18.4 percent

2. “Train to Busan” – 10.2 percent

3. “Peninsula” – 3.5 percent

4. “#ALIVE” – 2.1 percent

5. “Time to Hunt” – 1.6 percent 

The top favorite films in the survey in 2019 were “Parasite,” 12.4 percent; “Train to Busan,” 7.9 percent; “Extreme Occupation,” 3.1 percent; “Along with the Gods,” 2 percent; and “Exit,” 1.5 percent.