Korea cosmetics boom as China consumers scramble for more

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Korea cosmetics boom as China consumers scramble for more

Related tags South korean cosmetics Korea South korea

South Korean cosmetic producers are continuing to enjoy the best of times as latest statistics show that export grew by 50% in the past year, fuelled mainly by demand from China.

Exports of South Korean cosmetics grew to $1.87 bn during 2014, which represented an increase of 52% compared to last year, according to government statistics.

Sales of Korean cosmetics have gone through the roof in the past couple of years as the focus on the country’s popular culture has raised its profile in the Asian region and worldwide, creating an interest in its cutting-edge fashion and its pop music, known as K-Pop.

Exports boom across Asia

The newly published export figures show that the lion’s share of the exports went to China, where the country has become highly celebrated and a major travel destination for Chinese tourists.

However, if Chinese consumers cannot get to South Korea to buy the cosmetics there, they are buying the products in China in significant quantities, attracted by quality, innovation and competitive pricing.

This accounts for why 31% of the total cosmetic product exports from South Korea went to China, giving it a market value of $531m.

Two big names

LG Household & Health and Amore Pacific are the two biggest domestic players in the South Korea cosmetics market, and have also been the most successful in carving out a share of the lucrative and growing China market.

Other significant export markets for the country have proved to be the territories of Taiwan and Hong Kong, where continued economic growth has fuelled consumer spending power and a similar interest in South Korean culture.

However, in Japan, where the consumer has been hit by tax hikes, although the value of exports to the country was still up on last year, the slice of the total market dropped from around 12% to 7.7%.

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