China Boosts Korean Cosmetics Sales

The success of Korean cosmetics is everywhere. From all around the world, beauty lovers consider Korean to be the “master of skincare and beauty”. In China, the competition is fierce between French and Korean cosmetics. Indeed, French brands are promoting natural ingredients with strong storytelling while Korean brands are claiming youth benefits and K-pop promotion. Amid this battle, China is the key market that boosts Korean cosmetics sales.

Korean Cosmetics Market Overview

Korean cosmetics have been very successful all over Asia but it is in China that they know the biggest success. This has definitely been caused by the success of K-pop, with the Korean pop stars promoting their own cosmetics brands.

Korea, the Worldwide Leader of Beauty Products

From skincare to makeup, Korean are true beauty lovers. On average, Korean women apply 27 products during their daily beauty routine. This is a daily lifestyle. In the Korean culture, the more you are taking care of your appearance the more you have an accomplished professional and personal life. This is why Korean men and women are always looking for the most premium and qualitative cosmetics. Korean cosmetics are famous for being the most innovative beauty products on the market.

Read: Korean Skin Care in China

Compared to a decade ago, where Korean cosmetics were exported to only a handful of countries, they are now distributed worldwide. Indeed, Korea is one of the biggest markets in Asia with average export growth of 53% per year for cosmetics products. This is especially true when it comes to skincare and male grooming products. Men’s makeup is definitely a trend to follow.

China, the Essential Market for Sales

China is the first cosmetics market for Korea in terms of sales, according to the Korea Cosmetics Association. Today, almost 80% of cosmetics sales are coming from Asia. Overall China represented half of the Korean cosmetics exports followed by the U.S and Japan.

Korea is the second biggest cosmetics supplier to China, following France. On Chinese social media, Korean beauty brands are more attractive than any other international brand. For example on Weibo, the Korean brand’s conversion rate is 42 times higher than other brands.

What is the Key of Korean Cosmetics Success in China?

E-Reputation: A Strong Visibility of Korean Brands

The Korean beauty brands creators already enjoy a fairly wide reputation amongst Asian people. Why? Only because they are Korean. For example, the Korean brand La Neige is mentioned 2100 times per month on Weibo. Xiaohongshu, the Chinese Instagram, is flooded by user-generated content (UGC) using La Neige skincare products. On Baidu, the Chinese Google, Innisfree is the cosmetics brand reaching the most online searches. In a word, Chinese people are true fans of Korean cosmetics.

In China, if you want to increase your brand visibility you need a strong e-reputation. Korean brands are very concerned by the UGC and PGC shared on Chinese social media. They take care of the elements they are mentioned in. Also, they have a strong SEO strategy to be highlighted and promoted online.

Advertising: The Growth of KOLs and K-Pop in China

Korean pop culture, also called K-Pop has a huge impact on Chinese society. In China, you will often hear Chinese girls talk about Korean dramas or K-Pop stars. K-Pop stars have a strong impact on promoting a brand and increasing brand visibility. It would be interesting to weigh the influence of the two of those, Korean TV dramas versus Korean Music celebrities. In your opinion which one has the most influence?

The cosmetics brand MAC already answered this question. Since October 2020, the American brand decided to name Lisa from Blackpink as brand ambassador. Why? Blackpink is the most famous K-Pop girl’s band. Going along with Lisa among the 4 celebrities is not a hazardous choice. Indeed, she is a dancer/rapper from Thailand benefiting from strong success in China, Korea, and Thailand. The key to increased sales in Asia!

How can you approach KOLs and K-Pop celebrities?

Of course, we cannot reveal all our secrets. If you want to learn more about the key success factors of Korean cosmetics brands in China, you can contact us. We can help you improve your visibility and increase your sales overseas!

Further readings


  • EyesOfModa

    Chinese consumers are very likely to buy Korean beauty products as the power of KOLs has become international. With their perfect skin, they attract new types of worldwide consumers and can represent a very good opportunity for now cosmetics brands in China.

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