Amid the growing popularity of “K-Beauty” overseas, Korea's cosmetics exports continue their steep growth curve this year after reaching a record high last year.
According to the Customs Service of Korea on June 28, cosmetics exports amounted to US$3.924 billion last year, which was 3.3 times of imports at US$1.173 billion.
Last year's exports were the historical high, which was 275% of 2013’s figure of US$1.045 billion.
The rising trend continued this year, with exports of the first five months reaching US$2.064 billion, up 36.7% from the same period last year.
In terms of cosmetics exports by country, China took the biggest proportion with 37.4%, followed by Hong Kong (24.6%), the US (9.4%), Japan (5.0%), and Thailand (3.4%)
Cosmetics exports to China amounted to US$1.466 billion. The Korea Customs Service analyzed that China’s consumption tax cuts on cosmetics had a positive effect on the rising exports. China has been Korea’s No. 1 country for cosmetics exports since 2000.
Last year, exports to Vietnam amounted to US$123 million, a 109.5% increase from a year earlier.
Cosmetics exports to other countries are also increasing thanks to the popularity of K-Beauty. Countries where demand for Korean cosmetics is growing include France and the UK, which are producers of quality cosmetics, as well as Russia.
By item, basic cosmetic products accounted for 50.7%, followed by makeup products (9.5%), eye makeup products (3.6%), lip products (3.2%) and powder (0.8%).
An official from the Korea Customs Service said, "Exports will continue to grow this year as the excellence of Korean cosmetics is widely known thanks to the diffusion of the Korean Wave through social network services (SNS), K-Pop, and broadcasting."