Clean beauty and vegan beauty continue as trends among young consumers, further fueling the cosmetics industry in the mask-free era.
Hyundai Department Store announced Monday that customers in their 20s and 30s accounted for more than 70 percent of the revenue of its vegan beauty store Be Clean. Other cosmetics shops in the department store on average drew 33.7 percent of their revenue from said age groups.
Be Clean is a vegan beauty store that only sells products made without animal products or by-products, using reusable packages for sustainability. The first Be Clean store opened at The Hyundai Seoul in Yeouido, western Seoul, in 2021, and two additional stores opened in the Pangyo branch and Mokdong branch in 2022.
In the past, vegan beauty products referred to products that are made with no animal ingredients such as honey, beeswax or lanoiln. But recently, the term also came to mean that no animals were affected during the production and packaging process.
Clean beauty products, on the other hand, refers to beauty products that are made using ethical manufacturing, such as using eco-friendly packaging and non-toxic ingredients. Vegan beauty used to be the narrower of the two terms, but the boundary between vegan and clean is thinning.
Vegan and clean beauty were keywords that came into vogue in the cosmetics industry a few years ago, evolving from the once-popular trend of naturalism and targeting young customers who are keen on ethical consumption.
Vegan and clean beauty stores opened one after the other from 2021. Along with Hyundai Department Store’s Be Clean, Samsung C&T Fashion’s clean beauty brand Label C opened a flagship store in Garosu-gil, southern Seoul, in September 2021 and Lotte Department Store’s clean beauty store Nuancier opened in March 2022.
The move for vegan and clean beauty is supported by both the market and the industry. Label C announced Monday that it saw more than a 10 percent on-year increase in revenue at the end of last year, and that the 10 percent on-year increase is ongoing. Lotte’s Nuancier stores opened in eight places in less than a year since the brand’s launch.
Big retailers go through the trouble of opening offline clean beauty stores because they see clean beauty as an emerging market in Korea’s cosmetics industry that has long been divided in two: premium luxury brands on the first floor of a department store and the more affordable health and beauty stores in the streets. Clean beauty brands, even without well-built brand power, are eyed by young customers for their pure and positive image.
The Be Clean store at The Hyundai Seoul last year had 251 pop-up events, introducing and launching new beauty brands and products four or five times per week. It also doubled the frequency of its biannual product improvement to a quarter base.
“Vegan and clean beauty has settled as anchor content that attracts young customers into offline stores,” a spokesperson for Hyundai Department Store said.
The spokesperson added that while the past, showrooming — visiting stores to try a product and purchasing it online — brought about a crisis for offline stores, ones equipped with vegan and clean beauty products are triggering reverse-showrooming, which is to say, customers purchasing items in offline stores after seeing products online.
BY YOO JI-YOEN, SOHN DONG-JOO [[email protected]]