I came across this chart recently which I think is so fascinating. It maps Google search volume of the keywords "Korean skin care" over time and you'll see that there is basically no search volume before 2009 (apologies, image is small).
I imagine that this is related to the global BB cream sensation that Korea launched when they first introduced BB cream in 2006. The first US BB cream wasn't introduced until about 2011 through Estee Lauder and L'Oreal (Korea is so ahead!) and as BB cream was gaining global popularity I assume that corresponding search volume for "Korean skin care" was increasing, as people started to recognize Korea as a kind of beauty pioneer. Since 2009 and particularly starting 2014 you'll notice the growth spike in search volume of "Korean skin care" and that trend only continues in 2015.
A logical question is: Where does the trend go from here? Will it continue on its current trajectory? Will it plateau and flatten out? My guess is that we are at a tipping point where Korean beauty truly has gone from niche and exotic to mass and just commonly recognized as the global leader in beauty innovation.
If you follow any kind of beauty-related blogs or news outlets, you'll see some kind of Korean beauty related article a few times a week because people recognize this trend is real and want to be part of the conversation. Unfortunately, this means quantity over quality in the pieces sometimes.
From a business and startup perspective, as with any sort of trend there are a lot of folks scrambling to be in on the action. In the startup world, it's heating up and I hear about possible new market entrants all the time trying to take different angles. For Korean beauty incumbents like Amore Pacific, they're trying to figure out how to better market to the US customer, as this market, which has historically and famously been super difficult to penetrate, is finally ripe and ready.
The reality is that we're just at the beginning of this growth curve and at some point things will stabilize. There may or may not be room for all the players and similar to other industries like transportation (Uber) you may see consolidation to a few main players.
It's an exciting time to be part of the Korean beauty world. Only time will tell what happens.