The Indian beauty and make up market is flooded with brands, both international and homegrown, all trying to attract consumers who are ready to spend extra money on products that claim to offer clear, healthy skin.
Within this space, K-beauty, or Korean beauty, products continue to be among the popular performers, especially when it comes to post-millennial and millennial consumers, because they sell the idea of clean, conscious beauty choices and holistic “inside-outside” wellness.
The K-beauty market in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.4% from 2021 to 2026, as per a report by Mordor Intelligence. What's more, post millennials, or Gen Z, and millennials make for a bigger chunk of K-beauty's consumer base in India. Reason: Korean pop culture's growing influence, social media trends, beauty influencers hyping Korean products, and the general growing focus on healthy, clear skin after covid. E-commerce, too, continues to play a big role in bringing more K-beauty brands to the subcontinent.
K-Beauty's emphasis on skincare over make up is particularly appealing to the young shopper. The concept of prioritizing a radiant, healthy complexion aligns with the evolving beauty norms in India, moving away from colour-based beauty standards to an extreme focus on overall skin health. Plus, as mentioned earlier, K-beauty stands at the intersection of beauty and wellness, characterized by its use of natural ingredients, and an emphasis on skin health. Unique ingredients like snail mucin and propolis also pique the curiosity of the young Indian consumer who are ready to experiment. Affordable pricing makes the products all the more desirable.
With the Indian beauty and personal care market projected to reach $22 billion by 2025, the future of K-beauty in India continues to look promising.
Recognising the growing demand and potential, Indian startups like Nykaa and Purplle have also started offering a wide range of K-beauty products.
The challenge, however, lies in maintaining the authenticity of imported products and educating consumers about the intricacies of K-beauty routines. Successfully navigating this can offer an opportunity to shift the skincare dialogue in India towards health and wellness.
Radhika Ghai is the founder and chief executive of kindlife, a platform that offers clean beauty, nutrition and home care products.