In a video post on Euromonitor International’s website, “Air Cushions Taking the Color Cosmetics Market in Korea by Storm,” Euromonitor research analyst Minji Kim discusses what may be the beauty industry’s next big trend.
She begins, “Although it was first launched in 2008, Air Cushion has recently become the biggest trend in facial makeup in South Korea after the huge sensation created by BB creams. Thanks to Air Cushion, the sales value of color cosmetics grew by 11% in 2013. So what is special about Air Cushion? It is basically like a liquid foundation but the product is soaked in a sponge together with sun protection, makeup base and moisturizers. The idea of the Air Cushion comes from a stamp that can be patted and pressed on the users’ face, so its packaging is more like a compact powder case instead of a tube or bottle.
“There are three major reasons why Air Cushion is so popular. First, it is multifunctional. Second, it provides coverage yet still feels light on the skin. That is important, as summer can be very hot and humid in South Korea. Finally, Air Cushion gives a natural makeup look, which is in line with the current trends in the country.
“When Iope launched the first Air Cushion in 2008, it didn’t have much impact on the color cosmetics scene. It was because Iope had a limited distribution channel and brand awareness. Then, the brand expanded to the home shopping channel, which really helped the sales of the Air Cushion. As a result, Iope overtook Sulwahsoo as the number 1 brand in facial makeup in 2013. Based on this success, AmorePacific [which owns the Iope brand] launched Air Cushion products under its other brands such as Hera and Lirikos. So other domestic players such as LG Household and Health Care also jumped onto the Air Cushion bandwagon with their own brands. With the increase of [brands developing] Air Cushion products, this inspired consumers to see it as a must-have item, which further drove the popularity of the Air Cushion.
“Looking ahead, market players are expected to continue to expanding the Air Cushion products. In early 2014, AmorePacific launched a men’s Air Cushion under its Iope brand to tap into the fast-growing men’s market in South Korea. Air Cushion is also expanding to overseas markets, with the product being available in countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Product innovations and marketing campaigns to support these beauty trends are becoming more essential for market players to survive in the fast-changing beauty and personal care market. So manufacturers would do well to invest in developing innovative products rather than just simply relying on their brand image,” Kim concludes.