Acceptance and pride gives men’s skin care the all clear in South Korea

By Andrew MCDOUGALL contact

- Last updated on GMT

Hye Soo Nah, AP
Hye Soo Nah, AP

Related tags: Skin care, Cosmetics

The men’s skin care market is booming in South Korea thanks to acceptance of product use and the willingness to look good in the professional environment, despite China’s market size estimated to be bigger.

The male skin care in South Korea was $565 million in 2012 according to Euromonitor, and was the largest market size around the world taking 21 per cent of global sales for men’s skin care.

However, China is expected to overtake South Korea as the largest market size-wise this year, but that will not slow down its Asia-Pacific companion as, in terms of consumer spending, South Korea will remain the top over the next five years.

Daily routine

Euromonitor Research Analyst, Min Ji Kim believes this is because of the growing acceptance of a skin care regime in men’s lives.

“Men’s skin care in South Korea has been driven by two major factors:​ [The] continuous marketing message from market players that it is okay for men to use skin care products,​ [and] men themselves want to get​ [the] benefits from looking better [by] using skin care products in the workplace or in the job market,”​ she says.

The Korean beauty industry is the major trend-setter in Asia and has become a hotspot for the male grooming sector​ having shown continuous growth, even in the men’s make-up category​; an area expected to rise as skin care further matures.

Grooming Joe

The trend is moving so much that men are no longer the outsiders in the beauty market and a new term, ‘Grooming Joe’, has been coined to describe men who are willing to spend and invest in their facial and beauty products, says the Euromonitor expert.

Min Ji Kim expects that in the near future we will start to see basic cosmetic products, such as BB and CC creams, being made for men, before expanding to other cosmetic products.

“Domestic market players have already taken action in this trend,”​ she says. “For example, one of the market players, The Face Shop, launched a men’s cosmetic line with a BB cream in 2010.”

“That company is continuously launching the full range of men’s cosmetic products such as an eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, concealer and CC cream, which many of the other players haven’t launched yet.”

In the next five years, Euromonitor expects the other domestic international players to promote the use of men’s cosmetic products, although it urges caution as this may take time, and is not expected to match the fast progress that skin care made.

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