Three Steps Ahead: The South Korean Beauty Market

October 23, 2014
3 min read

South Korea is one of the world’s most exciting and fast-paced beauty markets, introducing industry-leading innovations and setting trends globally. Whilst the UK and US beauty and personal care markets posted 2.1% and 3.9% year-on-year growth retrospectively, South Korea posted growth of a staggering 5.8%.

We look at exciting innovative areas in the South Korean Beauty Market…

Hair Colourants

As a result of the sluggish economy in South Korea, more and more people are turning to in-home beauty and self-care products in the hair colourants market. In 2012, the hair colourants markets in South Korea grew a huge 30% from 2011 and is expected to grow a further 20% in 2013 and 2014. South Korea is also leading the way in Global launches of foam-type hair colourants (foam, mousse or bubble) with 10% of launches taking place here in 2012-14.

Bubble Foam Colour
Bubble Foam Colour

Mis-enScene Hello!! Bubble Foam Colour features raspberry, lavender, rose water and conola honey, with a coconut scent. It is designed to colour hair with a rich and soft foam that provides even coverage, and the secret “magic” ample prevents damage caused by the product.


In April 2014, Karl Lagerfield launched his new signature fragrance master brand in South Korea, choosing it as the first Asian country for the launch after the launches in the USA and Europe. However, Karl Lagerfield’s is not the first fragrance to choose South Korea as the test ground for entry into Asia. In 2013, Diyptyque introduced the second series in its floral collection, Eau Moheli, exclusively in South Korea six months earlier than its launch in the global market.

Cushion Compacts

South Korea led the way with BB creams which were first seen here in 2006, four to five years before its major launches in the West and eight years before it became an established trend. In 2008, Amore Pacific’s IOPE, or ‘everybody’s foundation’, launched in South Korea with reportedly over 12 million units sold, with a further 1.3 million units sold overseas.

O Hui’s Cover Moist CC Cushion Pact
O Hui’s Cover Moist CC Cushion Pact

O Hui’s Cover  Moist CC Cushion Pact contains the brand’s signature serum product, Cell Power Essence and stays on the skin for 25 hours after the initial application. It also claims to improve the appearance of wrinkles and have a skin whitening effect.

To keep up with this ever-evolving and vibrant market, Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) has expanded from mass market launches in Korea to cover prestige products.

Companies looking to unlock South Korea’s unrivalled opportunities will gain huge advantages with Mintel Beauty and Personal Care as its market leading analysis expands into this country.

To learn more about the products and South Korea’s growing beauty market visit here and download your free whitepaper.

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