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Korean cosmetics record sales of over 10 trillion won

Sales of domestic cosmetic products in Korea exceeded 10 trillion won last year.

The popularity of the Korean wave, or Hallyu, has greatly contributed to the rapid growth of the Korean cosmetic market.

Korean cosmetic companies attract foreign nationals through various promotions at shops.

Korean cosmetic companies attract foreign nationals through various promotions at shops. (Photo: Yonhap News)

According to data issued by the National Statistical Office, 10.82 trillion won of cosmetics were purchased in Korea in 2011, a 9.5% increase compared to sales of the previous year. As a result of the spread of Hallyu and aggressive marketing activities of Korean cosmetic companies overseas, the Korea Cosmetic Association said that export of Korean cosmetic products had an annual growth rate of 28.4% from 2006 to 2010.

In 2010, USD 761 million of Korean cosmetics was exported, an increase of 80% compared to the previous year.

China and Japan import the largest amount of Korean cosmetic products. Their Korean cosmetic imports account for more than half of Korea’s total cosmetic exports. Especially, Japan imported USD 100 million of Korean cosmetic products last year.

Korean cosmetic companies have attracted foreign nationals visiting and residing in Korea through large-scale promotions at shops in major tourist areas and duty-free shops. According to recent research conducted by the Segye Ilbo, one of the Korean newspapers, foreign visitors to Korea spent over 200 billion won on Korean cosmetic products in six duty-free shops in Korea last year.

Meanwhile, more Korean cosmetics are exported through online shopping websites. According to eBay Korea, 775,000 Korean cosmetic products were sold overseas and exported on the website in 2011. Most of the cosmetics were BB (blemish balm) cream and color cosmetics, eBay Korea said.

Large companies including Amore Pacific and LG Household & Health and small cosmetic companies like Tony Moly and Nature Republic have been gathering speed to expand into such markets like Japan and Southeast Asia, taking a chance while the popularity of Korean cosmetic is rocketing sky-high.

By Jessica Seoyoung Choi Staff Writer

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