Sephora collapses in Korea after five years

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It has been five years since Sephora, the globally renowned cosmetics brand, debuted in Korea but will cease its operations in the Korean market as of May 6th. The inability of Sephora to establish itself in South Korea is attributed to its lack of understanding of the local market dynamics, underscoring the dominance of Korean players, as noted by industry analysts.

South Korea, renowned for its cultural homogeneity, exhibits distinct preferences in cosmetics compared to markets like the US, where Sephora enjoys significant success. Korean consumers prioritise light colours and textures in cosmetics, diverging from what is typically favoured by American consumers. Additionally, South Korea boasts a thriving skincare and cosmetics industry, wherein local brands offer competitively priced products that align with Korean beauty and fashion trends, posing a challenge to international brands carried by Sephora.

This instance serves as a case study in localisation failure, underscoring the importance for Australian brands preparing to enter the Korean market to carefully consider local preferences and trends.

AKBC runs regular “Fundamentals of doing business in Korea '' training to help our stakeholders better understand the cultural differences in Korea before their delegation. Contact for more information. 🇦🇺🇰🇷

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