In an article about Korean cosmetics in a specialized blog on the subject, they relate that the history of this type of makeup dates back to the 1970s, during the long dictatorship of General Park Chung-hee, who had then banned the import of foreign cosmetics. It was out of necessity, then, that the beginning of what is now a huge industry with a global reach was born.
After the incorporation of women as a workforce and the insertion of specialized technology, the Republic of Korea liberalized the sale of its products, which since then have done nothing but gain followers around the world, even more so during the last few years when K-Pop dominates the music rankings and doramas are like the old and endless TV series, which many people watch for long periods after lunch or during the night.
Deciphering Korean beauty
It has cosmetic formulations that are really good with prices that are quite affordable. The competition, being very big, only benefits consumers, Brands are always concerned about having the latest technology in products.
In Korea, these companies are concerned with satisfying the main concerns of users by creating innovative, super gentle and effective formulas. Korean cosmetics present many opportunities because of their price-quality ratio, short-term effectiveness and their attachment to botanical extracts with healing qualities.
For example, if a product offers you the benefits of green tea, when you look at its components you realize that the formulas contain a high percentage of green tea. That is why the results are usually visible in less time.
But besides the goodness of price and effectiveness, it is also important the presentation of the products, the packaging, is where Korean cosmetics has raised the standards of the market.
They say that everything enters first through the eyes, and the packaging of these products is tender and ingenious, from eggs as facial cleansers or bunnies as makeup remover wipes to masks with animal faces.
Many of these K-Beauty products are cruelty free, that is, they are not tested on animals, an important certification.
What opportunities does the South Korean cosmetics market offer?
Within the segment responsible for the largest sales volume, skin care is led by two domestic companies – LG Household & Health Care and AmorePacific Corp, with sales shares of 20.0% and 18.8%, respectively, in 2018. However, both have lost market share since 2014, in favor of lesser-known companies in the cosmetics sector, such as Unilever Group, or small start-up companies, such as Aekyung Group.
Investing in Korean cosmetics through investment funds
LG Corporation is a South Korean company dedicated to the manufacture of electronic products, cell phones and petrochemical products. It was founded in 1947 by Koo In-hwoi and is currently headquartered in Seoul, South Korea.
The company was born under the name of Lak Hui Chemical Industrial Corp. and with its expansion took the name of GoldStar Co. Ltd. In 1983 it merged as Lucky-Goldstar, and in 1995 it took over the acronym to become ‘LG’, as it is today.
It also has different subsidiary companies dedicated to the electronics industry (LG Electronics, LG Display and LG Innotek), the chemical sector (LG Chem, LG Household & Health Care, LG Hausys and LG MMA) and the telecommunications and services sector (LG Uplus, LG International Corp., LG CNS, SERVEONE and LG N-Sys). In addition, there are different associated companies such as GS Group, LS Group, LIG Group, Lejel Group, Heesung Group or SPC Group.
The South Korean technology company is listed on the Seoul Stock Exchange (Korea Exchange or KRX), where it trades under the ticker symbol ‘003550’.
- Trading Place: Seoul
- Country: South Korea
- Turnover: 1.13 billion euros
- Profit: 433 million euros
- Capitalization: 10,967 million euros
- Fund holding: BlackRock Fund Advisors
AmorePacific is a South Korean conglomerate of companies dedicated to beauty products and cosmetics. It was founded in 1945 by Suh Sung-whan under the name Pacific Ocean Chemical. Its headquarters are located in the Yongsan-gu district of Seoul, South Korea.
It has a total of 33 health, beauty and personal care companies, including Etude House, Mamonde Cosmetics, Innisfree, Laneige and Goutal, among others. Thus, it ranks as the fourteenth largest company worldwide in the cosmetics industry.
Currently the company’s top manager is Suh Sung-whan, who was a founder of the company and remains its chairman. The number of employees under him totals more than 11,000, of which more than 4,500 are from South Korea and more than 6,500 from the rest of the world.
AmorePacific is listed on the Seoul Stock Exchange (Korea Exchange or KRX), where it trades under the symbol ‘090430’.
- Quotation Place: Seoul
- Country: South Korea
- Turnover: 1,088 million euros
- Profit: 795 million euros
- Capitalization: 9.3 billion euros
- Fund holdings: College Retirement Equities Fund-Stock Account, Matthews International Fds-Matthews Pacific Tiger Fund, TIAA-CREF Funds-Emerging Markets Equity Fund, Vanguard Tax-Managed Fund-Vanguard Developed Markets Index Fund, Harding, Loevner Funds, Inc.-Emerging Markets Portfolio, MFS International New Discovery Fund
Importing Korean beauty products
The laws in Europe and Korea are not exactly the same, so not all Korean products are suitable for import into Europe: the only way to purchase a product that complies with the strict European regulations is to obtain it from a European distributor.
Skinfood.no, Klairs.no, Soel.no, Naturalglow.no y Missha.no son algunas de las muchas tiendas en línea noruegas que se han abierto con un enfoque en la cosmética coreana en los últimos años.
Some distributors of Korean cosmetics in Europe are: Beautyko Import, which distributes brands such as: Eyenlip, Skinfood, Dewytree and Cosrx. AK Biocosmetics, Little Wonderland, Kencana, Your K-Beauty or K-Beauty Europe