Market research company Mintel sees growing potential for face care and make-up from South Korea


24 April 2017

South Korea is amongst the top ten cosmetics markets in the world. Western brands and manufacturers, too, are increasingly finding inspiration in innovative products, emerging from South Korea, that impress through their effectiveness, packaging and sensory appeal.

As the international market research institute, Mintel, established in a recent market analysis, the value of the South Korean cosmetics market amounts to a total of $13 billion. This includes a boom in face care products, in particular – which are said to represent more than half ($6.5 billion) of the overall market volume. Moreover, the analysts predict annual growth in the face care segment of 5.8 % to $7.2 billion, by 2020.

Valued at $2.3 billion in 2017, colour cosmetics represent South Korea’s second largest beauty market. According to the market research company’s predictions, this product group is set to continue its current growth and will reach $2.8 billion by 2020. The decisive factor in the success of this segment is the per capita expenditure on colour cosmetics, which, at $45, is significantly above the worldwide average of $21.

Trends from South Korea are influencing cosmetic markets worldwide
According to Mintel, we are again due to see some innovative products brought onto the market in South Korea. In the area of skin care, their experts expect to see some hybrid formulae, such as combined peeling and moisturising creams and light, but at the same time powerful, oil-based care products. Another trend is, they say, to be found in transformative textures, including, for instance, oils which turn to foam during use. As the market research institute tells us, natural ingredients and ingredients based on natural products similar, to those used in traditional Korean herbal medicine ‘hanbang’ are becoming increasingly popular in product development. And the enthusiasm for facial sheet masks is set to grow: moreover, these can also be used for other parts of the body – as well as the face.

In the colour cosmetics segment, hybrid lip products such as syrups, pencils and gel sticks are set to make an impression in 2017. Another important South Korean invention, which has already made its mark in western cosmetics markets in 2016, are the so-called ‘cushion make-ups’ with pads soaked in foundation and kept in traditional powder compacts. Further developments of this popular make-up will now be available with anti-ageing effects, UV protection and moisturising properties, say the experts. According to Mintel’s findings, South Korean brands are, moreover, banking increasingly on the use of gel, jelly, mousse and aqueous oils in the development of decorative cosmetics.

Thanks to these innovative products, modern South Korean cosmetics brands are successfully managing to appeal to more and more consumers outside South Korea. Jane Jang, Senior Cosmetics Analyst at Mintel observes: “Because of K-beauty’s growing popularity worldwide, Western brands are constantly looking to South Korea for their next inspiration, seeking to adapt popular South Korean beauty formats for Western consumers. The popularity of South Korean beauty products is due to their high performance combined with fun packaging and sensorial cues, as well as affordable prices. By gaining the attention of bloggers, vloggers and the media, the K-beauty wave is spreading to retailers outside of Asia.”


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