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FT Confidential Research

South Korean cosmetics a hit among young Chinese as K-pop booms

FT Confidential Research survey finds growing popularity for Korean cosmetics brands

  • South Korean labels were the big winners in FT Confidential Research's latest survey of China's most popular cosmetics brands, as they catch up on dominant US and European companies.
  • Their popularity is strongest among young consumers, supported by the fashion for Korean pop music and television. We expect global market leaders to continue to tap into this trend with more acquisitions in the Korean cosmetics industry.
  • Online cosmetics sales look set to continue to grow faster than the overall market and established brands will increasingly focus on this sales channel to drive revenues.

Recent intergovernmental spats over anti-ballistic missile systems have failed to harm actress Song Hye-kyo's standing among young Chinese shoppers. China's official displeasure with Seoul over its agreement with the US to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system has reportedly triggered restrictions on Korean cultural imports such as those starring Ms Song.

But the star of South Korean drama Descendants of the Sun is also the face of cosmetics firm Laneige, a big winner among respondents to FT Confidential Research's latest survey of 2,000 urban Chinese consumers. Laneige is one of several Korean cosmetics brands that have surged in popularity to overshadow their Japanese and Chinese rivals.

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