There is no stopping the Korean cosmetics market. The value of the cosmetics market grew to 8.9 trillion won ($7.9 billion) in 2011 from 5.6 trillion won in 2006, an annual average increase of 10.4 percent. Even when the economy came to a near-standstill with GDP growing 0.3 percent in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis, the domestic cosmetics market grew 11.8 percent, proving itself to be recession-resistant.
The rapid growth derives from new dynamics in the cosmetics industry. Rising life expectancy and desire for a better quality of life have propelled demand for wellness and anti-aging products. Also, there is a general perception that a youthful and healthy appearance is an advantage in Korea’s highly competitive society. Now, youths and senior citizens, men and teenagers, are making cosmetics part of their daily routine, not just women.
The skin care segment has been a particularly key growth contributor, with consumers gravitating away from simple glamour makeup. They are more youth and health conscious, recognizing that skin impacts aging, health and physical appearance. Skin care accounts for 48 percent of Korea’s total cosmetics market and is growing much faster than other segments like makeup and perfumes.
Furthermore, this personal care industry is going high-tech. As cosmetics technology development accelerates and converges with various high technologies, the paradigm governing the competitiveness of the cosmetics industry is focusing not only on changes in the market conditions and trends but also technology and effectiveness.