Here’s where K-beauty is driving Western skin care, cosmetics

LONDON — New research from Mintel, presented at in-cosmetics Global, is taking a look at the size of South Korea’s beauty market, the changes Korean beauty has brought to the global market and what trends to expect in the coming year.

Mintel notes that South Korea is among the top 10 global beauty markets, with its market size sitting at $13 billion in 2017, with facial skin care composing $6.5 billion in retail sales. It’s expected that facial skin care will grow at a 5.8% compound annual growth rate for the next five years, hitting $47.2 billion in 2020. Color cosmetics make up the second-largest segment of the Korean beauty market, and Korean shoppers spend $45 per capita on color cosmetics, compared with the $37 per capita spend in the U.S.

“The Korean beauty market remains buoyant thanks to fast-paced innovations and highly engaged consumers who don’t hesitate to adopt novel products delivering new beauty experiences,” Mintel senior beauty analyst Jane Jang said. “The success of the market has been heavily driven by the boom of facial skincare, but is also highlighted by the impressive per capita spend on color cosmetics which is more than double the global average.”

In addition to the size of the beauty market in Korea, the trends that have driven its growth have gone global, with such retailers as CVS looking to capitalize on it with and expanded K-beauty selection that includes exclusive brands and products. Mintel projects continued influence from Korea on product innovation and launches.

“Looking at facial skincare, 2017 will be the year of extreme segmentation. Products will become increasingly targeted and multi-functional, responding to the needs of knowledgeable and demanding consumers,” Jang said. “South Korean Beauty routines can consist of up to 10 steps, and a common obsession for specific claims – especially moisturizing, brightening, whitening and anti-ageing — means that most products combine multiple functions. The goal is to achieve the so-called ‘chok-chok’ skin, which is supposed to look bright, fair, plump, dewy and youthful.”

Trends in skin care will include such hybrid concoctions as exfoliating moisturizers, anti-wrinkle whitening tone-up creams and nourishing oil serums, Jang said, as well as transformative textures — powder-to-serum, oil-to-foam and water-to-cream products. Jang also notes that natural is a big factor in K-beauty, with 69% of 2016 South Korean skin care launches including herbal or botanical claims.  And sheet masks are here to stay, Jang noted.

When it comes to cosmetics, Mintel predicts that the skin care trends of hybrid textures and formats will carry over, with focuses on jellies, gels, mousses and watery oils. The main category seeing growth from hybrid formats has been the lip care category. Cushion compacts from Korea also have broken into the U.S. market, with 54% of global cushion compact launches taking place in Europe and the United States from October 2015-Setpember 2016.

“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,” Jang said. “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. While color cosmetics will be the active innovation area to cater to an increasing number of sophisticated beauty consumers.”

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