I get a lot of questions these days from new K-Beauty oriented startups and businesses that are now interested in entering the US market. They know that Korean beauty is trending in the US and that mainstream retailers like Sephora, Ulta, Macy's, Urban Outfitters, etc have embraced Korean beauty innovation. These startups and businesses see the growing Korean beauty category and are interested in tapping into the opportunity.
As they starting thinking about launching in the US they reach out to me wanting to know about the current US landscape and dynamics within the K-Beauty market in order to better assess a) whether to enter the US b) if yes, than their best go-to-market strategy for a market that is different from other geographies and already filled with K-Beauty players.
The volume of questions and requests have only increased as of late and my concern is whether we are hitting a saturation point for Korean beauty in the US and whether the market will grow fast enough to accommodate all the new players. These businesses new to the US market will have to quickly establish themselves in a differentiated manner and scale fast in order to see any benefits here.
The main e-tailer players in this space are:
Peach & Lily
Smaller e-tailer/subscription box players are:
Petaluma & Co.
Platform Players are:
K-Beauty Brand Players are:
There are too many to count but some notable ones are:
Too Cool for School
With Bloomberg estimating the US K-Beauty market at about $154MM as of 2015 (and growing) I still wonder whether the supply in the US is outpacing the demand.
Lots of education is needed for K-Beauty which takes time. K-Beauty is still a phenomenon amongst a more beauty forward segment (said: it is not mass yet) so with more and more people interested in entering this industry (I get emails and requests all the time about this), new players really have to think hard about their approach and strategy given that the market is already very saturated and competition will be fierce.