Local brands dominate market for makeup

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Local brands dominate market for makeup


Local cosmetics brands are gaining popularity while imported cosmetics are becoming more expensive. [JoongAng Ilbo]

Lee Soo-young, a 32-year-old office worker, had been a loyal customer of many imported cosmetics brands since she entered university.

Every lipstick and skin-care product she bought was imported, and she was quite satisfied with the quality. But lately she has started to buy makeup from local brands such as Amore Pacific.

“The price of imported items compared to local ones is very high,” she said. “After I started using products from local brands, I realized there’s really no difference in quality, but there definitely is in price. Locally made cosmetics are much cheaper.”

With persistent economic difficulties and consumers becoming more price conscious, local makeup brands are expanding their market share while imported brands are struggling.

Cosmetics sales at Lotte Department Store jumped 11 percent in 2011 compared to the previous year, but last year sales dropped 2.4 percent year-on-year. Most brands sold at Lotte stores are imported. According to a recent report from Kyobo Securities, the market share of imported cosmetics in the Korean market fell from 26 percent in 2009 to 23 percent last year. Local brands’ share rose from 47 percent in 2008 to 57 percent last year.

The price of imported cosmetics at department stores and duty-free shops is expected to surge next month, despite the strengthening won.

Industry insiders say the move is part of efforts to compensate for the decline in sales.

According to the retail industry, French cosmetics brand Dior will increase the prices of items it sells at department stores an average of 1.8 percent from July 1.

The company also increased the prices of some of its products in March.

With the latest increase, the price of Prestige White UV Compact is expected to rise 4.2 percent from 120,000 won ($117) to 125,000 won, while Dior’s Addicted Lipstick will jump 2.6 percent from 39,000 won to 40,000 won.

The brand’s J’adore perfume (50 milliliters, or 1.6 ounces) will be priced at 116,000 won, up 0.8 percent.

Items that were already priced higher in March will not be increased again.

The price of Dior cosmetics sold at duty-free shops is expected to be raised about 3 percent next month, including on makeup products and perfumes.

A Dior spokesperson was not available to comment, buy industry insiders say price adjustment decisions are managed by company headquarters.

Japanese cosmetics brand SK-II also is expected to increase prices for major products sold at duty-free stores by about 4 percent.

Prices of major perfume brands also will be marked up starting next month in anticipation of the summer vacation season.

Lanvin perfumes will be an average of 7 percent higher for the season, while Jimmy Choo and Mont Blanc perfumes will see an average 5 percent increase.

BY KOO HUI-LYUNG, LEE EUN-JOO [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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