"Made in Korea” cosmetics viewed as sophisticated and of high quality

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags International trade Korea South korea

"Made in Korea” cosmetics viewed as sophisticated and of high quality
As domestic markets inch closer to saturation, numerous Korean brands have really started to recognize their own R&D and manufacturing capabilities, which is transforming how “Made in Korea” products are viewed.  

According to JKH Wang, president of packaging supplier FS Korea, domestic products are increasingly being viewed as being of higher quality, sophisticated and environmentally friendly.

Wang sat down with the organisers of MakeUp in Seoul ahead of a two day show based in South Korea in April, to discuss the Asian market and local consumers’ behaviour. 

The packaging expert reckons that even if the economic situation does not look overly desirable in global markets, the beauty sector in Brazil, Russia, India and China will continue to be prosperous in 2015.

Full-service concepts

According to Wang, full service strategies are “a key issue”​ for many Korean companies.

"I think innovation is the growth key driver of beauty industries, so to have some advantages in full service, cooperation is important​," he tells organisers.

"That means, not only develop innovative products of our own, but cooperate with experts in formulation and packaging, which is a necessity. With full service, we can increase our business but there are also some drawbacks like on the suppliers’ side who take all the responsibility, including the investment​," he adds.

Made in Korea

According to the Korea Customs Service, export destinations hit 129 last year, higher than the 95 countries it imports makeup from. This is also the first time cosmetic exports exceeded USD 1 bn.

Toners, moisturizers and essences took the largest proportion of cosmetic exports, which accounted for more than 49% of total exports.

Key destinations included China, Hong Kong, Japan, the US and Southeast Asian countries. China is Korea’s largest export destination for its cosmetics. Korea’s cosmetics exports to China alone hit USD 261.3 m in 2013.

The stimulus behind the growth in exports appears to be twofold: the number of countries importing South Korean beauty goods is increasing, while the price of the individual products is also on the rise.

Korean-made cosmetic products were exported to 129 countries last year, compared with 87 countries in 2004, and over the decade, the cost per kilogram also nearly doubled to $22.88.

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