Estée Lauder Companies announced today the purchase of a stake in Have & Be, the Korean company behind skin care brands Dr. Jart+ and Do The Right Thing. This is the first time ELC has purchased a Korean company, indicative of Korean beauty’s explosion as a trend in the U.S. and Western Europe. Just last year, Urban Outfitters devoted a section to Korean skin care brands. Likewise, Sephora expanded its line of Korean products beyond Dr. Jart+ to carry Tony Moly, Belif, Koh Gen Doh, and Skin Inc. And in September, Skin Inc. and Dr. Jart+ showed their savvy approach to marketing as one of a few skin care brands to sponsor shows at New York Fashion Week.
Not only are Korean beauty brands ahead of the game in developing new products (BB cream, CC cream, cushion compacts), they are innovative in distributing and promoting their creations online. L2’s Digital IQ Index: Korea Beauty finds that global brands operating in Korea often fail to compete with the locals. In the ranking of the digital performance of 64 local and global brands, local brands held seven of the top 10 spots. Korean Beauty brands surpassed the majority of global brands in e-commerce, e-tailer partnerships, and search positions.
Estée Lauder Companies CEO Fabrizio Freda had said the key to compete with Korean cosmetics companies is to embrace their trends and technology. He named Clinique as an ELC brand that has brought Korean beauty trends – mainly BB and CC creams – to the U.S. It looks as if Estée Lauder is embracing Korea Beauty’s digital and product expertise with acquisitions as well.
See our latest reports on the digital competence of beauty brands here.