Active opportunities: Botanicals and biotech leading the way in ‘trend-setting’ K-beauty market

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Botanical and biotech cosmetic ingredients are expected to top the active ingredients market in South Korea. ©GettyImage
Botanical and biotech cosmetic ingredients are expected to top the active ingredients market in South Korea. ©GettyImage

Related tags K-Beauty Ingredient suppliers Active ingredients

Botanical and biotech cosmetic ingredients are expected to top South Korea's active ingredients market due to the high demand for more natural beauty products.

This is according to market research company Kline, which conducted research on the active ingredients market in South Korea that was presented as part of in-cosmetics Korea’s recent webinar programme.

“The South Korean personal care market is a trendsetting market and currently, the suppliers are focusing on developing active ingredients, especially botanicals, from indigenous sources,”​ said Kunal Mahajan, manager, chemicals and materials, Kline.

Mahajan elaborated that botanicals are in high demand due to the increased research and development of local ingredients.

“In South Korea there have been growing usage of ingredients from local sources such as Jeju Island, further driving the use of botanicals in the country.”

The demand for natural ingredients is also driving up the use of biotech ingredients which are not only seen as natural but high performing ingredients as well.

Consumer interest in naturals has also resulted in more interest in domestic suppliers in the industry, said Mahajan.

In the last decade, the South Korean personal care market saw an increase in sales of active ingredients by smaller local suppliers.

“The market seems evenly split between global and local suppliers in South Korea, with the market probably slightly tilted towards the global suppliers. However, the share of local, smaller suppliers is continuing to growth partially due to the preference of local sources of ingredients such as botanicals.”

Future trends

According to Kline’s research, South Korean consumers have the largest need for hair care products with anti-hair loss claims and it expects the demand to continue growing.

The growth is being driven by the rising ageing population in South Korea as well as concerns of hair damage caused by high usage hair treatments like hair dye in the country.

Typically, marine ingredients are preferred in South Korean hair care for their good performance, added Mahajan.

The company’s research also revealed opportunities in the South Korean microbiome beauty market.

“Recently, emerging trends in the personal care industry include microbiome, as it was only introduced a few years ago, the market size is relatively low, but it has high growth potential,”​ said Mahajan.

He elaborated that this could be attributed again to the rising ageing population and adverse weather conditions in the country such as the dry winter seasons.

“There is a growing demand for personal care products that can improve skin health in South Korea, and this is expected to drive the demand for products that promote the microbiome.”

In the next five years, Mahajan said he foresees more cosmetic companies bringing out more personalised beauty products as companies like Amorepacific have invested heavily in that area.

As the personalised beauty market in South Korea advances, he expects to see the demand for synthetic peptides increase in the market

Another significant movement in the market is the rising demand for ‘hybrid’ products.

“Consumers in South Korea were known to follow a 10-step beauty regime however, this has become time-consuming and they are now looking to use multifunctional personal care products that can minimise the routine,”​ said Mahajan.

On the flip side of this, he added that this could also adversely impact the growth rate of the speciality actives market as consumers will reduce the usage of ingredients.

Lastly, clean beauty is expected to make its mark on K-beauty as well.

“As a result, many [cosmetic companies] are reformulating their products to fit clean formulas,” ​said Mahajan.

He added that this would drive the demand for botanicals, marine ingredients and biotech ingredients in the market.

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