Haircare Business Booms as Stressed Koreans Go Bald

      October 10, 2015 08:33

      The market for haircare products is growing rapidly as over 10 million people suffer from hair loss. From wigs to potions that claim to make hair grow back, the industry is raking in the money.

      Beauty product manufacturers, supermarkets and department stores are scrambling to benefit from the emerging market.

      Hi-Mo, the nation's leading wig manufacturer, posted sales of W66.7 billion last year (US$1=W1,161). Although wigs are expensive, costing between W200,000 and W1.8 million, the company is seeing increasing demand.

      Cosmetics giant Amore Pacific released a series of new haircare products this year, including some using ever-trendy green tea.

      Supermarket chain Lotte Mart set up booths at its 80 outlets across the country dedicated to shampoos that may help prevent hair loss.

      French hair care brand René Furterer established a branch here in January this year and opened outlets in 11 department stores.

      According to the Korean Hair Research Society, the number of people suffering from hair loss is increasing by 10 to 20 percent every year and surpassed the 10 million mark in 2012.

      The figure is rising particularly fast among women and young people. Data by the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service show that those under 20 accounted for 13 percent of hair loss sufferers in the last five years, and those in their 20s and 30s made up 46 percent.

      Experts attribute the rise of hair loss among young people to stress from study and finding a job. "Many women wear hair pieces that cover only some parts of the head for a natural look instead of wearing a full wig," said a market insider.

      The market for products to deal with hair loss saw a 10-fold increase from W400 billion in 2004 to W4 trillion last year. The market for wigs also grew more than 20 times from W50 billion to W1.2 trillion over the same period.

      A researcher with Hana Daetoo Securities said, "The essential treatment for hair loss is washing your hair properly. So haircare products will likely account for a growing share in the beauty industry."

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