Korean beauty products have strong competitiveness in the overseas market with their affordable prices, quality and the ability to quickly reflect trends in the dynamically changing global cosmetics industry, says the CEO of Able C&C, a firm that manages a range of Korean budget cosmetics brands including Missha.
"South Korea has a unique cosmetics ecosystem, as opposed to France and the United States -- the original powerhouses of the global cosmetics industry," said CEO Kim Eugene during an interview with The Korea Herald last week.
"Korea has long produced its cosmetics products with OEM (original equipment manufacturing) and ODM (original design manufacturing) processes, which allowed for fast production of diverse range of makeup products," said Kim.
"Because K-beauty products were produced quickly, there were subject to intense competition from the beginning (in the domestic market) -- which ultimately led to their high quality and trendiness," she added.
With the constantly changing trends of the global cosmetics industry, Kim says trendy K-beauty products are in demand more than ever.
For example, Kim said its bestselling brand, Missha, successfully forayed into the Japanese market, with its tactic to quickly present a diverse range of makeup products.
By introducing a slew of new, high-quality makeup products, in addition to Missha's brand credibility it has built in Japan since 2006, Kim said Able C&C has seen a 15.5 percent sales growth in Japan from 2020 to 2022 during the pandemic.
Kim said along with the company's ability to present creative products, its growth overseas was further attributed to its stable acquisition of foreign retail channels.
"Currently, there are a lot of Korean cosmetics brands that have innovative, visionary makeup products. They are trying to foray into big markets such as the Japanese market or the American market, but are having a hard time because they don't have a stable supply chain," said Kim.
"It is imperative that Korean cosmetics brands understand the specific characteristics of each brands' distribution network, because without such analysis, it will be difficult to reach the foreign customers despite having inventive products," she said.
For its plans going forward, Able C&C said it seeks to grow further. The company had been in a deficit until last year, when the company swung back to black with an earnings surprise.
"The overseas market is a completely open market. With our endless growth potential in the overseas market, and there still being markets that have not been actively targeted, like Southeast Asia, we will aim for aggressive expansion, based on our greatly improved profitability," Kim said.