All Hail K-Beauty

All Hail K-Beauty

When writing the weekly news for this website, it goes without saying that, at some point, I’ll set about researching yet another story heralding the rise and rise of so called ‘K-Beauty’. And I’m sure you, as learned industry insiders, are also all too aware of the dominance this beauty phenomenon is starting to have. So let’s get down to the real question… why is it so popular?

Just why is it creating such a buzz and what is it about these products that no doubt has their manufacturers rubbing their hands together in glee all the way to the bank?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the US is most definitely head over heels for K-Beauty, with the paper suggesting, ‘Over the last 18 months, its cultivated a certain gentle, nature-meets-technology ethos. Boosting its appeal is packaging that comes with poppy colors, nonsensical names like Tonymoly and bottles whimsically shaped like pandas and cracked hard boiled eggs.’

So is it simply the West embracing the cute, quirky nature that Korea so unashamedly promotes in many parts of its culture? Girlie packaging, silly names et al? Could it really be just one bloody brilliant example of a marketing campaign gone really, really right? Or do the products actually – wait for it – work?

Many of the products offer a natural approach to skincare, something that, as we all know, is a strong lure for many modern health-conscious consumers. But what makes the Korean offerings any more attractive than those from all other nations that produce similar goods?

Well it may be that South Korea is the epicentre of skincare research, thanks in part to its consumers appetitive for a devout skin care routine. And it’s this spend on skin care and commitment to a healthy, ongoing routine that has caught the attention of international marketers and the global consumer. But is market activity as intense as the hearsay suggests? In short – yes.

Just last week the Nation of Peace Brunei played host to Korean investors in a bid to boost trade between the two countries, AmorePacific eyed further investment in Hong Kong with the announcement of 10 new store openings pitted for this year, Hera has opened a bricks and mortar store in China – it’s first in the country – while a free trade agreement between Columbia and Korea could open up even more growth opportunities for the trend. And are the multinationals getting in on the action? You bet. Only recently an LVMH-owned investment company is said to be set to invest in Korean cosmetics brand CLIO.

Phew. That’s a lot of activity, and that’s just in the last few weeks.

Whatever the pull, it doesn’t look as though the growth of K-Beauty is going to come crashing down any time soon. The manufacturers are too savvy, the products in too high demand, and the export market lapping up the quirky brands. All Hail K-Beauty.

1 Comment

  1. Great analysis! I think another reason is that there is a lot of mediocrity amongst western brands and consumers are attracted by unfamiliar concepts and novel packaging ideas. Many K-beauty products will catch on for their novelty value (eg patterned sheet masks) but how many will stand the test of time?

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