K-Beauty Trend Rises: What Does This Mean for Licensing?

Korean beauty products and trends are growing in the cosmetics space. License Global analyzes what this could mean for licensed product collaborations.

McKenna Morgan, Content Editor

August 7, 2023

2 Min Read
License Global holding image.
License Global holding image.Global Licensing Group

Straits Research revealed in a new report that the global K-beauty products market size revenue topped $8.30 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $18.32 billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 9.2% during the forecast period (2022-2030).  

South Korean skincare products, collectively referred to as K-Beauty, have gained worldwide popularity. After taking over in East, Southeast and South Asia, it has made its way to the Western world. 

“The formulation of Korean beauty products is their biggest asset,” Straits Research said in its report. “In Korea, women’s skincare procedures can range from four to 20 steps, with various products used to treat different skin concerns. These cosmetics are virtually entirely composed of natural ingredients. The cosmetics industry in Korea is continually expanding to accommodate new developments, especially in raw materials. Snail slime, bee venom, starfish extract, pig collagen and morphing masks are among the strange ingredients used to formulate K-beauty products. Due to its high product margin, the K-beauty sector is becoming increasingly lucrative for cosmetic companies, enhancing its profitability.” 

Several Korean skincare brands, including CosRX, Peach & Lily and Sokoglam, have been introduced to the U.S. Some cosmetic retailers, like Sephora, offer areas on their websites that are dedicated to Korean skincare brands. 

In the report, Straits Research says Asia Pacific will continue to hold the biggest share in K-Beauty purchases. However, North America is expected to hold $3,547 million, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 10.5%. With these growth rates in mind, U.S.-based companies are launching products that align with K-beauty trends. Beauty Creations Cosmetics, for example, recently released a nine-step skincare line inspired by Korean practices. 

With the K-beauty trend booming, brands are also taking note of Korean culture. K-Pop idols, such as BTS and BlackPink, are making their way to globally licensed consumer products. From phone cases from CASETiFY in the case of BlackPink to BTS creating LINE FRIENDS characters, BT21, with their own makeup, knitting kits, pop-ups and more, Eastern culture is beginning to influence heavily what the West does with its consumer products. 

When it comes to beauty, trends always pop up, but we are in the early stages of Korean culture, making a wider impact on licensing as a whole. According to a Statista survey conducted in the U.S. in 2019, around 29.4% of respondents stated K-pop was very popular in their country. A further 30.8% reported that it was quite popular. K-pop is no longer a niche interest, so additional consumer products are to be expected. Consumers who are invested in popular culture, whether Eastern or Western, expect merchandise. With that in mind, more K-beauty deals, K-pop deals, K-drama (Korean soap opera) deals and more are expected to hit shelves very soon. 


About the Author(s)

McKenna Morgan

Content Editor, License Global

McKenna Morgan is Content Editor for License Global. Based in the Santa Monica office, McKenna specializes in coverage involving non-profits, beauty and cosmetics, health and wellness, new and social media and entertainment licensing.

When McKenna isn’t covering the latest licensing news, she spends her time attending live music shows and finding her next travel destination.

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