The beauty industry is very dynamic, and new trends tend to appear rapidly. These last two years, the rise of K-Beauty has been quite outstanding. Korean beauty has become highly popular all around the world, not just in Asia. In western countries, famous beauty retailers like Sephora are increasingly collaborating with Korean brands. K-Beauty has been embraced by women in many European countries thanks to its amusing packaging and out-of-the-box ingredients. However, another trend has risen, and it’s bound to attract many customers around the world. Japanese beauty, or J-Beauty, has recently started to pique western countries’ curiosity. Indeed, the innovative and science-driven cosmetics are attracting more and more customers.

Both K-Beauty and J-Beauty are constantly in competition. So we looked at their differences and similarities.  Then we used our social listening platform to run a trend analysis and see which one is the most popular. Here’s what we found…

What do the two trends have in common?

K-Beauty and J-Beauty have a different approach to skincare compared to Western beauty. They focus on protecting the skin whereas western beauty creates products to repair damage. Asian beauty is famous for offering innovative solutions. Both Korean and Japanese beauty brands have launched science-driven products from which western brand have taken inspiration. One of the most famous Korean brands, Dr. Jart, creates products inspired by medicine. From the packaging to the marketing claim, they take inspiration from a medical vocabulary.

trend analysis medicine

Another thing Korean and Japanese beauty have in common is unique ingredients. Whether it’s horse oil or snail extracts, brands are continually using unexpected ingredients. The use of such components, however, is always justified by valuable benefits for the skin. Snail jelly, for example, has become so popular that western brands also claim it now within their products.

trend analysis beauty

Zoom in on the differences

Korean brands are famous for coming up with funny and original packaging. They take their inspiration from everything, ranging from food to cartoons.  Colorful packaging is one of the main reasons why Korean beauty became so popular. Japanese beauty, on the other hand, is effortless and minimalist. It focuses on the ingredients and the benefits. Japanese brands’ packaging is more similar to western cosmetics.

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The other notable difference is the target. Korean beauty tends to attract young, girly customers whereas Japanese brands tend to target older generations. The difference in the packaging is widely related to this. Indeed, Millennials are more likely to buy products when the packaging is colorful and original. Moreover, Japanese brands tend to be more expensive, but their target has a more substantial purchasing power. Their customers look for quality and therefore aren’t necessarily as concerned about the price.

Trend analysis: which is the most popular?

Thanks to our social listening suite we were able to compare the buzz around Korean and Japanese beauty online. Our platform reveals that Korean beauty is most dominant on social media. Indeed, our dashboard shows that 95% of the mentions are about K-Beauty.  

trend analysis share

Social mentions also show that K-Beauty benefits from the popularity of K-Pop. Indeed, many people seem to relate both and praise Korean beauty brands which collaborate with K-Pop singers. 

However, our dashboard shows that K-Beauty has a lower Social Reputation Score (SRS) than J-Beauty. The SRS shows the evolution of a topic’s reputation over a chosen period.  It indicates that overall, Japanese beauty generates more positive sentiment than Korean beauty.

trend analysis srs

Moreover, the dashboard shows that Korean beauty has seen a decrease in reach in the last six months. Although it generates a higher range than Japanese beauty, the latter has seen its reach increasing compared to K-Beauty. 

trend analysis awareness

Our trend analysis shows that Korean beauty creates the biggest buzz on by far.  However Japanese beauty is gaining momentum and generating more positive sentiment than K-Beauty.

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