Korean Amorepacific will retry his luck in France with Sulwhasoo


by Pascale Denis and Sarah White

PARIS (Reuters) – Amorepacific, the number one south-Korean cosmetics, will attack again at the French market, with one of its flagship brands, Sulwhasoo, hoping to take advantage of the excitement around the “K-beauty” to seduce a high-end clientele.

The group, known for its innovations in cosmetics, such as the “BB” cream, the concealer “cushion” in the form of sponges or beauty masks for the night, had suffered a setback in France thirty years ago with its products Soon and Lirikos.

“Learning a culture does not happen overnight. It is important to understand the functioning of a market prior to launch,” said Reuters, Thierry Maman, president of Amorepacific Europe from 2015.

Today, despite a market that is both saturated and not very strong – sales have stagnated or declined for several years in the Hexagon – Amorepacific on the experience of Thierry Mom, the former leader of Givenchy Perfumes (owned by LVMH (PA:LVMH)) to make the bet of a “positioning highly distinctive”.

“Unlike western brands, which highlight the fight against wrinkles, the promises of certain assets or the muses, Sulwhasoo is very traditional”, he said.

Amorepacific is also banking on the new appetite of consumers of luxury brands of well-being focusing on the natural ingredients.

Mainly sold in Asia, Sulwhasoo, whose sales exceed one billion euros, is based on korea’s traditional medicine and uses natural ingredients such as ginseng.

In addition to the creams, whose prices oscillate between 90 and 200 euros, the brand also markets the pebble metal for the face massage.

Sold since September 2017 exclusively for one year at Galeries Lafayette in Paris, will also be launched this year in the big stores, the british and then in Germany in 2019.


Amorepacific, the owner of parfums Annick Goutal since 2011, with a turnover of less than € 50 million in Europe, mainly thanks to the French brand of parfums, known for its bottles with fluted and juice as the Water of Hadrian.

“With the Galeries Lafayette, we test the appetite of the customer,” said the CEO, called aim for a million euros in turnover this year.

The group, which expects a growth of 20% of its sales in Europe in 2018, is also banking on the recovery of Annick Goutal through the renovation of its dozen stores, and the modernization of its image.

In a second time, Amorepacific also intends to launch in Europe its other big brand, Laneige. More accessible, it fits in with the current of the “K-beauty”, these brands Korean games and digital targeting “millenials”.

Laneige competes more directly with competitors such as Tony Moly and its packaging in the shape of pandas or Dr.Jart+, sold at Sephora (LVMH) and in which the american Estée Lauder has taken a minority stake.

Amorepacific Corp, dominant in South Korea with a market share estimated by the institute Kantar to 32% – far ahead of LG Household (17%) – was highly penalised by the drop in chinese tourism after the political tensions caused by the installation of the antimissile shield american Thaad.

Its sales have fallen by 8% in the first nine months of 2017, at 3.983 billion won (3.1 billion euros).

In 2016, he realized 75% of its sales in Korea, 23% in Asia (especially China), with the balance mainly in the United States.

(Edited by Dominique Rodriguez)

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