Estée Lauder's Christopher K Wood — General Director of the company's Korean market — confirmed what everyone at the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference knows: K-Beauty is big business.
A $50 billion business. "It's not the first wave that's happened in Asia — but the Korean wave is the first sustainable wave," he said at the Conference today, explaining that the movement is a hybrid of European style wrapped in Asian values.
Identifying great product innovation; inspiring and beautiful Korean film and pop stars; and the power of social media as the three main reasons for the wave, Wood also referenced experiential value as an important element of the process in Asia, a region that he said looks for both "instant gratification and long-term performance".
"The consultation and dialogue that happens between consumer and advisor is seen as the value proposition of the brand," he explained. "The experience of being able to speak with someone knowledgeable is why people buy prestige products."
Endorsement is also another crucial element, and Wood was more than happy to extol the virtues of having someone like Victoria Beckham (with whom Estée Lauder announced a collaboration last week) associated with their products on a global platform. "The question of collaborations with celebrities is picking authentic people to work with," he said.
"Victoria Beckham is a fashion icon, entrepreneur, and businesswoman and we felt her collaboration with Estée Lauder was authentic. She has a great passion for beauty and in our mind represents the entrepreneurial spirit of Mrs Lauder. We felt it was a good match and I'm excited to see how it will play out — not just in Korea but globally."
By Scarlett Conlon, reporting live from the second Condé Nast International Luxury Conference in Seoul