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Korea's Cosmetics Exports in 2022

[2023.9.20 Exprive]

Welcome to the vibrant world of Korean cosmetics, where innovation and quality meet to create products loved by people worldwide. In this blog, we'll take a closer look at the fascinating Korean cosmetics sector, its global reach, and some exciting developments in 2023. Join us as we explore the latest insights from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety's report on Korean cosmetic exports in 2022.

Korea Ministry of Food and Drug Safety

Korea's Cosmetic Landscape in 2022

In 2022, Korea's cosmetic industry was nothing short of impressive. It comprised a whopping 10,000 companies producing a diverse range of 124,000 products valued at $11 billion. What's even more astonishing is that $8 billion worth of these products were exported to international markets, while $1.3 billion worth were imported.

Amore Pacific

Diverse Product Offerings

Korean cosmetics are all about diversity. They cover a wide range of product categories, with skincare taking the lead at 55%. Body care, color/eye cosmetics, and hair care products follow closely, each contributing to the industry's rich tapestry.

LG Household & Healthcare

Korea on the Global Stage

Korea proudly stands as the fourth-largest cosmetics exporter in the world, trailing behind France, the United States, and Germany. In 2022, Korea exported a remarkable $8 billion worth of cosmetics to countries worldwide.

Korea's Key Export Markets

Korean cosmetics have found their way into many corners of the globe. The top export destinations include:

  1. China: $3.6 billion (45% of exports)

  2. United States: $840 million (11% of exports)

  3. Japan: $750 million (9% of exports)

  4. Hong Kong: $400 million (5% of exports)

  5. Vietnam: $380 million (4.7% of exports)

  6. Russia: $290 million (3.6% of exports)

  7. Taiwan: $200 million (2.5% of exports)

  8. Thailand: $150 million (2% of exports)

  9. Singapore: $120 million (1.5% of exports)

  10. Malaysia: $10 million (1.5% of exports)

2023: A Year of Growth

Fast forward to June 2023, and the Korean cosmetics industry is still thriving. Exports in that month alone reached $800 million, marking a remarkable 17% year-on-year growth. Notably, exports to the United States soared by over 61%, while Hong Kong and Japan also saw significant increases of 50% and 10%, respectively. However, there was an 18% decrease in exports to China, in part due to the higher quality of domestically-produced cosmetics.

Korean Cosmetics in China

Since 2002, Korean Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) enterprises have set up factories in China to cater to the booming cosmetics market. Leading Korean ODM players now generate 30-45% of their billion-dollar revenue from China, producing cosmetics for over 300 Chinese brands, including Yatsen's Perfect Diary(完美日记), Pechoin(百雀羚), Proya(珀莱雅), and Florasis(花西子).

Yatsen / Cosmax
Pechoin / Exprive
Proya Cosmetics / Exprive
Florasis / Exprive

A Thriving Ecosystem

Korea's cosmetics ecosystem is bustling, with 4,500 manufacturers covering OEM/ODM, case makers, and ingredient suppliers, along with 28,000 distributors. The high expectations of Korean consumers and their relatively low brand loyalty drive companies to consistently deliver innovative, high-quality products. This emphasis on quality control and excellence runs through every step of the value chain.

Challenges for SMEs

While Korea's premier OEM/ODM companies service over 300 clients, gaining their focused attention can be a challenge for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), especially those from other countries.

Korea's cosmetics industry is not just about beauty products; it's about a dynamic, competitive, and ever-evolving market that continues to captivate the world. Whether you're a skincare enthusiast or just curious about the global beauty landscape, keep an eye on Korea – it's a fascinating journey you won't want to miss!


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