Korean Cosmetics Thrive in Japan Despite Tensions

      May 11, 2021 12:58

      Korean beauty products are in high demand in Japan despite long-simmering bitterness between the neighbors.

      Especially cheap to mid-priced brands like Nature Republic, Clio Cosmetics, and Missha are being snapped up by Japan's millennials, who are impervious to tensions between the governments of the two countries.

      Missha beauty products are displayed in a cosmetics store in Japan.

      Nature Republic last year launched a marketing campaign on Qoo10 and Rakuten, the two largest online shopping malls in Japan. Within two months its flagship skincare products ranked first in sales on Qoo10, pushing up its overall sales in Japan a whopping 600 percent in 2020.

      Clio's online sales in Japan stood at W20 billion and its offline sales at W15 billion last year, up 120 percent and 54 percent (US$1=W1,114).

      Missha, on the other hand, has strengthened offline marketing, putting its products into about 30,000 cosmetics and lifestyle goods stores across Japan. It earned W38.6 billion in sales there last year, up from W38.3 billion a year earlier.

      These brands have in common that they no longer rely on their own brand outlets but made inroads into offline and online shopping malls.

      Another factor is the recent resurgence of the craze for K-pop and Korean TV soaps through online streaming services.

      "Unlike in the past when middle-aged and older people were enthusiastic about the K-pop culture, now young Japanese are spearheading the trend," said a Nature Republic executive. "Generally, Japan's younger generation aren't swayed by anti-Korean or chauvinistic politics."

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