A growing theme since the explosion of multifunctional BB (Beauty Balm) creams across the global beauty and grooming landscape, Asia, and more specifically South Korea, is setting the standard in terms of cutting edge beauty solutions and technologies. The unique approaches to beauty regimes and subsequent innovation in this region continues to be an overarching trend impacting the personal care sector on a global scale as consumers across other markets seek out similar approaches to achieve the ultimate beauty regimen and optimise appearance-related health.
A total of 60% of consumers globally say they are interested in beauty and grooming products from a foreign country or which follow foreign trends, according to GlobalData’s Q4 2016 consumer research, with this sentiment being highest among millennials. This therefore suggests the favourable perception of approaches and products originating from other markets, such as South Korea, which offer brands new and unique routes to innovation in terms of textures, formats, and applications to challenge the status quo and drive more disruptive innovation in their home markets. Similarly, this can also serve to engage the highly experimental and image-conscious millennial demographic.
In particular the number and diversity of products used in South Korean beauty regimes has become a source of fascination to consumers across other regions – looking at facial skincare regimes alone, just under one third of South Korean women say that they use six or more products daily, the highest globally (GlobalData’s Q4 2016 consumer research). Consumers across different regions are now seeking to replicate such regimes with multiple products in the quest for greater efficacy and the route to image-based perfection. Looking at Europe and North America alone, approximately two in five women agree that they are willing to increase the number of products they use in their beauty regimen alone to improve their appearance (GlobalData’s Q4 2016 consumer research).
These demands are creating new opportunities to take inspiration from the steps found within South Korean beauty regimes and transfer them to new geographies. ‘K-beauty’ is becoming a well-recognised phrase to refer to beauty products and concepts from South Korea. Beauty product retailer Sephora in the US has even created a section on their website devoted to K-beauty skincare. Featuring South Korean brands including Too Cool for School and Son & Park, the retailer has responded to the interest in K-beauty trends by navigating these complex regimes to their customers and therefore making it more accessible to them. Staples in the South Korean skincare arsenal including watery creams and essences are explained on the site to customers, their benefits, and how to apply the product.
The growing accessibility of Korean beauty offerings and the adoption of these sophisticated regimes will continue to be an important source of innovation inspiration for global brands as well as to extend existing ranges. For example Vichy Canada has launched a Boosting Essence Water to add to its Aqualia Thermal range which also features an eye gel-cream and power serum. Nevertheless as this trend opens up new audiences for Korean beauty players and their portfolios become more commonplace in other markets such as those in Europe and North America, the challenge will be for global brands to position themselves with the same authenticity and perceived sophistication as their Asian counterparts.
Jamie Mills is a Consumer Insight Analyst for GlobalData