SEJONG, April 5 (Korea Bizwire) – Sales of Korean cosmetics abroad have shown dramatic growth over the past few years, with exports now eclipsing the three trillion won mark.
The Chinese market showed particular interest in Korean beauty products.
According to data from the Korea Customs Service, exports last year increased by 53.1 percent compared to 2014 ($2.5 billion).
Exports more than tripled over the past five years, from $698 million in 2011. The average increase between 2011 and 2015 was 36.9 percent annually.
Data from this year shows that cosmetics exports remain strong, with $710 million in exports recorded during the first quarter, a 21.9 percent increase over the same quarter last year.
Customs officials explained that exports increased due to the growing interest in Korean beauty products visible in Korean content such as movies, music and TV shows.
The country that imported the most Korean cosmetics was China, taking up 40.6 percent of the total exports ($1 billion).
Hong Kong ranked second (24.8 percent, $664 million), followed by the U.S. (8.5 percent, $274 million), Japan (4.6 percent, $114 million) and Taiwan (4.4 percent, $167 million).
In other words, exports to Chinese regions (China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) were close to 70 percent of total exports.
Although exports to Japan dropped due to the weak yen and a frigid diplomatic relationship, Korean cosmetics were exported to 131 countries in 2015 compared to only 118 in 2011. New markets were pioneered in Central Asia (Uzbekistan) and Africa (Libya).
Basic skin makeup products such as lotions, toners, eye cream and facial mask packs made up half of the exports, followed by foundations (9.9 percent), eye makeup (4.2 percent) and lip makeup (1.9 percent).
In addition, $19 million worth of products were exported via direct overseas purchases online.
The customs service expects that a change to Chinese e-commerce laws which will lower tax rates of products over 100 Yuan from 50 percent to 32.9 percent will boost exports of Korean cosmetics further.
By Lina Jang (email@example.com)