Devaluations don’t stop uptick in makeup prices

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Devaluations don’t stop uptick in makeup prices


Overseas cosmetics and luxury brands have been scrambling to raise prices of popular products at a time when the U.S. dollar, euro and Japanese yen depreciated in value.

Despite the sharp depreciation of these currencies, foreign cosmetics and luxury brands are raising prices and blaming increased costs of materials and labor.

P&G’s cosmetic brand SK-ll raised the price of all of its products at department stores, duty-free shops and in-flight duty-free an average of 3 percent last Friday.

The price of 150 milliliters (5.1 ounces) of SK-ll Facial Treatment Essence, the company’s most popular product went from 165,000 won ($152) to 175,000 won at stores.

Also the price of its 50 milliliter Cellumination Essence was increased by 6.1 percent, from 229,000 won to 243,000 won. All of SK-ll products are manufactured in Japan.

Swiss cosmetic brand La Prairie also raised prices the first of the month for all its skin care products at department stores and duty-free shops.

The price of its Cellular Eye Cream Platinum Rare increased from 440,000 won to 458,000 won, while that of Essence of Skin Caviar Eye Complex rose from 175,000 won to 181,000 won.

Some foreign cosmetic companies raised prices only at duty-free shops and not at department stores.

Brands such as L’Oreal Paris, Lancome, Helena Rubinstein, Benefit and Estee Lauder all raised prices by as much as 3.5 percent.

“It seems that these companies drove up the prices only at duty-free shops as the prices of these products at duty-free shops had declined compared to those at department stores due to falling exchange rates,” said an industry analyst.

Other foreign luxury brands selling bags and perfumes also raised prices since this year.

Italian brand Gucci raised the prices of some of its popular handbags and purses by 4 to 11 percent in mid-January, and the French brand Chanel also increased prices of cosmetic products and perfume by an average of 4 percent last month.

At department stores, the price of Chanel’s eye shadow product Chanel Illusion d’Ombre rose 2.2 percent, while the price of Chanel Le Blanc Makeup Base costs 4.6 percent more.

The price of French brand Hermes’ representative handbag Kelly recently hit 10.53 million won after being raised by 550,000 won. Celine is also reportedly planning to increase prices of its spring clothes and handbags by 5 percent.

Prices are also going up for local masstige, or semi-luxury, brands.

The local handbags and sundries masstige brands such as MCM, Metro City, Louis Quatorze and Couronne raised prices by up to 9 percent, citing higher costs of materials. The price of MCM’s First Lady Tote & Shoulder bag went up 9.1 percent, from 600,000 won to 655,000 won, and Metro City’s tote bag MF402 is selling at 619,000 won, up 6.9 percent from 579,000 won. Kolon Couronne, attracting popularity as a local luxury brand, has increased the price of its Diana bag from 588,000 won to 625,000 won.

“Consumers don’t make buying decisions for these products based on price as they are purchased to flaunt wealth,” said a fashion industry insider, who asked to remain anonymous.

“When foreign luxury brands increase the prices, the price gap between foreign brands and local brands gets wide, and thus the local brands are bound to follow.”

By Choi Ji-young []
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