Sales: $5.4 billion
Suh Kyung-bae, chairman and chief executive officer
Skin care: Sulwhasoo, Laneige, Mamonde, Innisfree, Hera, Iope, Happy Bath, Primera, Odyssey, Illi, Lirikos, Aestura, Makeon. Cosmetics: Etude, Hanyul, Espoir, Aritaum. Fragrance: Annick Goutal. Inner Beauty: Vital Beauty. Hair care: Ryo, Mise-en-Scéne. Oral Care: Median
Luxury: Sulwhasoo Timetreasure, Bloomstay Vitalizing eye cream, Hera Glow lasting foundation, Sienu. Premium: Laneige Radian-C cream, Iope Retinol Expert 0.1%, Hanyul Red Rice Essential line, Iope Tailored 3D mask. Daily Beauty: Labo-H hair care; Enough Project
Comments: Sales rose 3.4% last year. Within Amorepacific’s domestic cosmetics business, the continued popularity of Sulwhasoo helped drive domestic cosmetic sales. In the daily beauty category, sales gains were attributed to Ryo hair care, as well as relatively new brands like Illiyoon and Fresh Pop.
Espoir’s sales rose 11% due to the popularity of seasonal makeup sales and better sales promotions. The unit enhanced communication with its customers by co-developing a social networking system platform (#CrewSays) and opening showroom stores with customized services. Aestura sales rose 11%, helped along by the sales of 365, a new skin care formula. However, Innisfree revenue fell 8% and Etude sales dropped 18%. Amorepacific blamed the Etude sales decline on travel retail and roadshop woes. Amos Professional’s sales declined 1%, which the company attributed to heavy competition in the hair care market.
A year ago, Amorepacific launched Primera, its clean skin care brand in Sephora and on Sephora.com. The brand fits in well with the retailer’s Clean at Sephora program, which only includes products that are free from more than 50 ingredients currently out of favor with non-government organizations and some consumers; you know, ingredients like parabens, sulfates and mineral oil.
In December, Amorepacific took a minority stake in Milk Makeup, as part of the cult beauty brand’s planned expansion into South Korea. The companies describe the deal as a partnership; Milk Makeup expects to learn more about the Korean beauty market and Amorepacific hopes to uncover the indie brand’s fast-growing sales strategy. Last year, Milk Makeup expanded into the UK, Germany, Spain and Scandinavia.
The pandemic hammered Q1 2020 results. Domestic sales fell more than 22%, but there was a bright spot—online sales rose 80%. Amorepacific noted that 50-60% of stores were closed in China in February. It was even worse elsewhere; in the rest of Asia, as more than 80% of stores were closed at the end of March and in North America and Europe, more than 95% of stores were closed.
And yet, Amorepacific is moving ahead with new products and entry into new markets. For example, last month it launched Sulwhasoo in Nykaa in India. Sulwhasoo is Amorepacific’s signature luxury brand and it joins Innisfree (2013), Laneige (2018) and Etude (2019), which are available in India.
“In recent years, Nykaa has led the Korean beauty conversation in India, focusing on educating Indian customers on the novelty of the products and ingredients,” said Falguni Nayar, founder and CEO of Nykaa. “This has resulted in an incremental growth of the skin care category as our customers become more demanding and discerning about their choices. We are very excited to launch Sulwhasoo in India with its unique and innovative solutions which are sure to delight our customers.”
Last month, Amorepacific introduced Enough Project, which is billed as a “pragmatic beauty brand offered and delivered to those who do not comply to the rules set by others and live the life that is ‘enough’ for themselves.”
The simple design is said to appeal to all regardless of gender. All seven products are vegan-friendly, according to Amorepacific. The star product is Enough Project Moisture Cream, which contains the proprietary beta-hyaluronic acid, which is said to have about 1.5 times the skin regeneration effect of the hyaluronic acid shown in 24 hours. The formula also contains bakuchiol, a plant-based ingredient with similar benefits to retinol and a great antioxidant, according to Amorepacific, which maintains that the brand, “reflects the voices of our customers, taking note of the increasing customer needs for digital channel.”
Suh Kyung-bae, 57, is chairman and chief executive officer of Amorepacific. His father founded the company in 1945. According to Forbes, he is the ninth wealthiest person in South Korea, with a net worth of $3 billion.