Cosmetics products have grown as a new driving force for Korea's exports

16:08 | 26/10/2018 Cooperation

According to the "2018 Global Cosmetics Industry White Paper" published by KOTRA on Oct. 22, Korea’s cosmetics exports in 2017 totaled US$4.96 billion, a fourfold increase from 2013.

A South Korean woman walking past a street billboard in Seoul - CREDIT: Getty

The accumulated exports from January to September this year were US$4.6 billion, up 31.4 percent from the same period last year.

In 2017, cosmetics exports amounted to 19.4 percent of automobile parts exports, 51 percent of home appliance shipments and 64.9 percent of mobile phone exports.

Korea’s cosmetics export markets are also diversifying.

In 2017, exports to Greater China, which encompasses Hong Kong and Taiwan in addition to mainland China, increased 12.5 percent from a year earlier to US$3.26 billion.

Greater China is the largest export market for Korean cosmetics, but exports to Southeast Asia (US$530 million; 39 percent), North America (US$470 million; 29.8 percent), and Europe (US$160 million; 51.3 percent) have also increased.

KOTRA analyzed that South Korean companies are securing competitiveness through innovations, which lead the global cosmetics industry, and development of popular products.

Thanks to the growing popularity of K-beauty around the world, the number of cosmetics companies (manufacturing and selling) in Korea increased from 2,458 in 2012 to 11,834 in 2017.

Noting that the cosmetics industry is labor intensive as companies produce multiple items in small batch sizes, KOTRA says active overseas advancement of Korean cosmetics companies will create more jobs..

"K-beauty is providing new vitality to our exports, which has depended on a handful of major industries, despite the recent THAAD impact and some corporate concerns," said Kim Jong-choon, head of the KOTRA`s economic and trade cooperation division.