Men boost South Korea's cosmetics sales

By Michelle Yeomans contact

- Last updated on GMT

Men boost South Korea's cosmetics sales

Related tags: South korea, Cosmetics

As the women's cosmetics market becomes saturated, male grooming is leading the way in South Korea, which has seen personal care companies step up their marketing efforts with men.

While men in the West have yet to show any real interest in colour cosmetics or lengthy skin care routines, more than 10 per cent of South Korea's domestic beauty sales are coming from male products.

According to the Washington Post, the country's cosmetics industry boasts annual sales of US$10 billion and men are literally "boosting the nation's cosmetics business."

The publication reports that the key to introducing or building brand loyalty with new or innovative ranges is through cosmetic sampling.

A lot of men don’t choose their own products, they just take what their girlfriend gives them," ​Innisfree marketing executive, Lim Chae-dok told the Washington Post.

More men are signing beauty campaigns than ever before

Men are even starting to dominate the cosmetics advertising world.

In fact, more cosmetics companies are signing exclusive contracts with men in Korea to front their campaigns.

This is far from the traditional role of men accompanying women in campaigns or indeed female models being the priority for beauty advertising.

Celebrities or pop singers are most in demand like Ok Taec-yeon, member of boy group 2PM, who signed with Asian cosmetics giant, SK-II to promote its 'Pitera Mist'.

In April, the brand stated that they had chosen Taecyeon as an ambassador because of his 'healthy image', and that he had already used the product.

"Ok Taecyeon has healthy skin and a manly charm. We think he fits very well with SK-II," ​reps said at the big reveal.

The power of K-beauty 

Cosmetic companies in South Korea have been enlisting male K-pop icons of late to expand beyond their borders and take on the global giants like L'Oreal and Unilever across the continent.

Visiting Chinese shoppers in particular are seeking out high street beauty brands advertised by K-pop stars, as well as department stores for higher-end brands.

Companies like Amorepacific and LG Household & Healthcare are also looking to establish themselves as premium products, with a distinct Asian sensibility.

"Cosmetics sales are said to mirror the popularity of Korean cultural exports, so K-pop stars are the best way to market our products​," said Kim Hee-jeong, marketing manager of LG Household's The Face Shop, which has over 1,000 overseas stores.

For the region's young consumers who have been raised on K-pop, the metro-sexual appeal of South Korean boy bands like 2PM, Big Bang and Super Junior, are said to be a quality Western or Japanese competitors cannot deliver.

Related topics: Market Trends, East Asia, Skin Care

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