Covid-19 accelerates online migration of fashion, cosmetics
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to propel a boom in e-commerce, Korea’s fashion and cosmetics companies are scrambling to launch their own online-only brands.
Shinsegae International’s online fashion brand 10Month recently sold out of inventory — two months' worth — in a week. Vpplement, the company’s other online fashion brand that was launched on Sept. 1, met a shortage of supplies in a day.
Competition is intensifying among the country’s fashion and cosmetics companies to launch their own online-only brands.
On Sept. 8, Samsung C&T’s fashion brand Beaker launched its online brand B_ (pronounced "B underbar") while Kolon Industries FnC last month debuted its new online brand Lucky Marché.
Handsome, a Korean fashion brand owned by Hyundai Department Store, also introduced its online-only brand Rareview in June. According to the company, Rareview’s clothes will be made with the same quality fabric used in products of Handsome’s other brands.
Cosmetics companies are also moving quickly to hop on the online-only bandwagon.
Amorepacific launched a new cosmetic brand Enough Project in June that is available exclusively through e-commerce operator Coupang. A month earlier, the company also introduced a new raspberry color of Hera’s lip tint, which is only available as a gift through KakaoTalk.
Besides Coupang, Amorepacific has teamed up with other e-commerce sites, such as 11st and Naver, to strengthen its online presence and target online shoppers.
The companies' recent move has been largely prompted by Koreans' changing shopping habits — especially those of young people.
According to Handsome, its three online stores — handsome.com, H Fashion Mall and EQL — generated 124 billion won ($107 million) in revenue in the first half of this year, a 62 percent increase compared to same period a year earlier. Cosmetics giant Amorepacific’s sales of online inventory spiked 80 percent in the second quarter of the year compared to a year before.
“Young people, who particularly enjoy online shopping, even share links to fashion platforms' items that are up at discounted prices [to their acquaintances],” Seo Yong-gu, a professor teaching business at Sookmyung Women's University, said. “As polarization intensifies in people’s consumption and a growing number of people seek more cost-effective options, online-only brands are likely to grow further.”
The number of offline stores, on the other hand, has declined consistently. Samsung C&T’s fashion division said it will close down its roughly 100 Beanpole Sport stores and 50 Beanpole Accessory stores across the country by the end of February 2021. Shinsegae International also plans to shut down about 40 offline stores, out of 400 across the country.
BY BAE JUNG-WON, CHEA SARAH [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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