It’s raining men’s products in Korea, as the country keeps its rank of the #1 male skincare market in the world, with a +80% increase since 2010. K-men are ambitious, sophisticated connoisseurs of Beauty, moving to high end skincare and surgery to look just as beautiful as women.
DRIVERS DEFYING SOCIAL NORMS
Inspired by K-pop and social medias, men in South Korea are reportedly spending more on skincare per person than men anywhere else in the world - defying heteronormative expectations in a society rather socially conservative. Millennial males drive Beauty sales, and South Korea accounts for about one-fifth of the global market for male cosmetics. According to Euromonitor, the market for men’s skincare increased in South Korea by 80% between 2010 and 2016, and men spend $26.90 per person per year on skincare products. In the Hyundai Department Store’s, male cosmetics purchases (per capita) rose from 68,000 won in 2015 to 85,000 won last year (source: DongA.com).
Online, vloggers such as Kim Seoung-Hwan (@whanonline - 125K YouTube followers), Joon-Peanut (294K YouTube followers), LeoJ - @ LeoJ Makeup (250K YouTube followers), and- K-pop stars cover makeup and have become very first Korean beauty YouTubers to try genderless makeups.
”75% of South Korean males claim to do a beauty/grooming treatment at home once a week or more, compared with just 38% in France.” - explains Lia Neophytou (Consumer Analyst at GlobalData) adds that in a Forbes article.
FROM PROMOTING WOMEN TO SELLING TO MEN
Until now, men were used as models (especially K-Pop models) to promote women’s line. Now things are shifting as brands are launching male-targeted products specifically addressed to millennial men or genderfluid individuals.
”While in Japan, brands play on a certain neutrality, now there is a competition going on which is to be as beautiful as women. So men are moving to surgery. Men want to be beautiful to achieve good positions and to be as beautiful as the k-drama stars”, explained Florence Bernardin at the MakeUp in New York event. Famous brand, Tonymoly, even launched the Camo Cream, a 4 color camouflage compact marketed to military servicemen in South Korea.
The new man openly grooms himself and doesn’t hesitate to share on social media. In skincare, Su:m 37 added a new line, Dear Homme, targeting a higher end consumer. The group LG, who also owns Belif, relaunched its men’s line, Manology, and reduced the number of all in one products from five to two to meet more sophisticated demands of consumers. Missha launched an all-in-one Essence Skin Care, which consists of four types of ampoules, water, cream, and toning to help men manage their skin according to their specific skin troubles.
In makeup, LAKA became the first Gender Neutral Makeup line in Korea, that released 12 shades of sheer lipstick lines with videos to ease application. The colors are for both men and women, emphasizing that one can create their own image.
Launched last summer in Korea, Boy de Chanel, represents the first international premium line to target male cosmetics. The line includes a matte moisturizing lip balm, a tinted fluid, and an eyebrow pencil, all in four different shades. Driven by Korea, men in China have also increased their beauty consumption. According to the China Industrial Information Network, 60% of Chinese urban men use cosmetics every day. The proportion of men buying cosmetics increased by 36% from the previous year and the ratio of men and women increased from 6 to 4 (Source CosKorea.com).
Twice a year, the Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation agency edits its What’s Up Seoul, a condensed trend report dedicated to the hottest trend in K-Beauty. For more information, contact us.