2016 in review: AmorePacific, blazing the K Beauty trail

2016 in review: AmorePacific, blazing the K Beauty trail

When you think of K Beauty – and let’s face it, who isn’t – you think of AmorePacific.

A juggernaut of the skincare market, the company has unleashed its offerings full force this year, with a focus on carving out a niche in both premium and the mass market. The company’s Sulwhasoo premium skincare brand was faring particularly well, with AmorePacific opening the brand’s largest single-brand cosmetics boutique in Korea earlier in the year which spanned five floors. And it seems like it was a shrewd move, with sales of the skin care line reported to have hit a record KRW1 trillion in 2015, a 25 percent increase on the previous year. Time will tell what 2016 has recorded in terms of sales.

Indeed, such is the power of this brand that AmorePacific decided that it would try to recreate its success in Asia and the US with a European launch of its Sulwhasoo brand, despite not managing to gain momentum with its offerings in previous years.
However, AmorePacific didn’t just set its sights on conquering the prestige market, with its mass market brand Innisfree also reaching new heights this year. It’s no wonder there’s reports suggesting that the company is set to launch the brand in the US early next year, with Innisfree delivering sales of KRW600 billion for the first six months of the year (including its Chinese operations) – proving the popularity of the brand, and one that’s no doubt hoped to be emulated in the US.   

And it was this success that helped AmorePacific on its path to global dominance. Indeed, the company launched into the Middle Eastern market this year, opening in Dubai, while the Vietnamese market was also said to be a priority for the K Beauty giant, with France being a K Beauty hot bed, led by the likes of AmorePacific and its popular Korean cosmetics chums. Indeed, the country is the leading importer for South Korean cosmetics in Europe. And it didn’t end there; over at AmorePacific Malaysia there was the launch of new women’s skincare brand Mamonde, and a rumored new dedicated plant for the area. You’ll have to admit, AmorePacific is covering all worldwide bases.

AmorePacific was also strong in its retail onslaught, both online and with retail outlets. The company built on its global business strategy with the launch of an international online shopping website, continued its investment in Hong Kong with new store openings while its retail chain Aritaum also increased its store count from 14 to 70 in the US. Indeed, another AmorePacific-owned K Beauty brand Hera also launched its first bricks and mortar store in China – cementing the new trend for individual retail spaces for singular brands. A move proving popular by many cosmetic companies. 

It wasn’t just its retail dominance making the headlines, in fact the company also scored a few corporate coups over the course of the year. Firstly, the company signed a sponsorship deal with Taean-gun-based Cheollipo Arboretum in a bid to save endangered plants, donate KRW190 million over a two-year period to the conservation institution, while the company’s CEO Suh Kyung-bae set up his own science foundation named The Suh Kyungbae Science Foundation. While not directly linked with AmorePacific, the venture is sure to give the company more kudos.

But with great power comes great responsibility and those at the top often fall foul of some controversy. AmorePacific was ordered to pull 11 different toothpastes after the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety found them to contain ‘a very small amount’ of chloro-methylisothiazolinone (CMIT) and methylisothiazolinone (MIT), a move which hit the company’s Q3 profits and brought on an a lawsuit brought by 315 plaintiffs requesting 1 million won in damages following the recall.

However, it would create a misleading tale for AmorePacific to end the review on a low, as 2016 was a strong year for the company, with worldwide dominance a key goal for the company, which is successfully riding the K Beauty wave all the way to the bank.