One survey has found that 42.4% of elementary school students wear make up, Branding in Asia reported, based on a study published on the Korea Citation Index.
Of those asked, 43.4% of respondents revealed that they first started wearing make up from as early as the fifth grade.
What’s the appeal?
K-beauty has reached fever pitch in South Korea, with the Asian phenomenon now reaching global fame, with many US and Europe-based organisations including Peach & Lily, SokoGlam, Sephora and CVS creating Korea inspired e-commerce platforms and beauty ranges.
With simple yet multifaceted skin care regimes a core staple of K-beauty ranges, adopters are quick to embrace current trends.
K-beauty packaging is also often popularised for its fun and nostalgic colours and prints that utilise pop culture to epitomise innovation and creativity. It seems that this approach has resonated with South Korean children, who are rapidly becoming wearers and supporters of make up and K-beauty.
SK Planet e-commerce platform supported these findings by commenting that lipstick sales for children have surged 549% on their website. This has more than doubled since 2016, when the figures were 251%, and shows a staggering rise from 2015 when the sales of cosmetics to children on its site reached 94%.
Market intelligence provider, Mintel, outlined the success of South Korea, thanks to the almighty consumer investment in K-beauty and K-power.
Jane Jang, Senior Beauty Analyst at Mintel stated that this “has been heavily driven by the boom of facial skincare, but is also highlighted by the impressive per capita spend on colour cosmetics which is more than double the global average.”
In fact, in April 2017, Mintel revealed that South Korea has “an active and engaged consumer base” that favours both facial skin care and colour cosmetics as part of their daily beauty regime, which can consist of up to ten steps.
The South Korean government is reportedly now considering whether it should monitor children’s cosmetics through implementing a separate category. This would then place the onus on manufacturers, who would be required to introduce extra information on labels regarding ingredients, especially those that relate to allergies.
Back in July 2017, we reported how South Korea’s cosmetics industry was moving into the European market after experiencing a trade surplus of over three trillion won (€2.3 bn).
Heading for premiumisation, the country’s beauty giants targeted the prestige sector through cutting-edge ingredient use to ward off growing competition.
To highlight the importance of safety and regulations in cosmetics manufacturing and sales, the nation introduced negative list systems.
Further indicating its priority for safety, Sohn Mun-gi, Vice Minister, Food and Drug Safety, announced: “We will continuously help domestic cosmetics products export smoothly to other countries and ease procedural regulations unrelated to safety through talks with regulators in the future so that the beauty hallyu (K-beauty wave) can spread all over the world.”
With children avid supporters of K-beauty, the country may now need to look at its domestic marketplace along with distribution opportunities, to ensure safe use.