S. Korean cosmetics exports up 21% on-year to $9.2 billion in 2021

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : July 7, 2022, 18:07 Updated : June 23, 2023, 00:58

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- Exports of South Korean cosmetics products hit a record high of $9.2 billion in 2021, up 21.3 percent from a year ago. This is the third-largest export performance in the world after France and the United States. Cosmetics products contributed a lot to South Korea's total year-end trade surplus.
South Korea houses four world-class beauty product makers -- LG Household, Amore Pacific, Able C&C and Clio Cosmetics, along with many cosmetics startups targeting North America and China. In 2018, South Korea's famous online beauty and fashion product shopping mall called "Stylenanda" was acquired by L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetics company. Stylenanda's make-up brand 3CE is one of the most popular brands among Chinese tourists.
Data released by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety showed that the value of cosmetic exports in 2021 was larger than that of home appliances which stood at $8.6 billion. China topped the list of countries that imported South Korean cosmetics products with 61.3 percent. Shipments to the United States, Canada and Japan have seen a gradual increase. 

Exports of body cleaning products such as hand sanitizers were up 11.95 percent on-year, followed by color cosmetics products and hair products.
"We will support the development of the domestic cosmetics sector and build up global competitiveness by taking drastic measures to innovate unnecessary regulations while guaranteeing safety," Food and Drug Safety Minister Oh Yoo-kyung said in a statement on July 7. K-beauty color makeup including eye shadows and lipsticks is being sold all over the world. Despite a global lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, exports of South Korean cosmetics products remained brisk. 

In April 2022, Seoul unveiled its scheme to invest more than 100 billion won ($77 million) in small-and-medium-sized enterprises and startups in the fashion and beauty sector starting in 2023. The capital city will nurture 50 influencers every year to promote K-beauty products and some 200 experts including brand managers. Various advantages including tax benefits will be provided to Dongdaemun district, South Korea's fashion and tourism hub. 
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