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Innisfree doubles down

InnisfreeBeauty retailer Innisfree is riding a still-growing wave of interest in South Korean beauty products to expand in Australia.

Just two months after the Seoul-based retailer opened its first store in Melbourne Central, drawing a queue of 400 people, hoarding for a new store has already gone up at Westfield’s Doncaster Shopping Centre.

The retailer declined to provide specific details about its plans for the Australian market, but said that sales so far had exceeded expectation, and that it was committed to establishing a long-term presence Down Under.

“We have many very exciting developments planned for our Australian consumers and these will be shared via official announcements very soon,” Innisfree Australia general manager Brian Jeong told IRW.

Founded 18 years ago, Innisfree is a top beauty retailer in South Korea, where it is known for offering hundreds of skincare products that “harness” the power of natural ingredients sourced from Jeju Island. It now has 1700 stores in 12 countries, thanks in part to the growing demand for South Korean beauty products around the world.

According to figures cited by trade website World’s Top Exports, South Korea is currently the third-biggest exporter of beauty products globally, after France and the US, but has grown the fastest over the past five years at 277 per cent. Jeong said consumers had caught on to the fact that the newest beauty products were coming out of the Korean market, where spending on skincare in 2017 reached an estimated US$6.5 billion, according to research firm Mintel.

“Korean women put a lot of effort into their skincare routine, meticulously caring for their skin before any damage has been done, and from a very young age, by knowing about their skin and choosing the best products, right routine and methods,” Jeong said.

“[They] are well-informed about beauty products and their ingredients, and they are picky.”

Besides its South Korean bona fides, Jeong said Innisfree’s affordable prices and sustainable ethos had made it a hit with millennial customers in particular. The retailer has collected over 15 million empty bottles since 2003 and planted over 79,000 of trees globally as part of its sustainability efforts.

“We strive to avoid excessive packaging or using heavy materials such as glass. By saving costs such as these, and by being true to the product and brand philosophy, we are able to invest more in improving product quality,” Jeong said.

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