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Daiso becomes new K-beauty hub

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Cosmetic products at a Daiso store inside Starfield Suwon / Courtesy of Asung Daiso

Wallet-friendly store’s top-value cosmetics attract both Koreans, foreign visitors

By Ko Dong-hwan

Daiso's promotional image for Son&Park Arti Spread Color Balm / Screen capture from Daiso's website

Daiso’s promotional image for Son&Park Arti Spread Color Balm / Screen capture from Daiso’s website

Asung Daiso is sweeping the country’s beauty market with its cosmetic products that come with the brand’s signature affordable prices, as the products are increasingly believed to possess qualities no less than those available in more expensive price tags, according to industry observers, Tuesday.

With ongoing inflation in the country being felt across the board regarding consumer products, this is leading an increasing number of consumers to seek cheaper products. Daiso, a major retail chain here selling products of small-to-medium size companies (SMEs) at over 1,500 stores, is seeing rising sales. The leverage from its cosmetic aisles is expected to further propel the company’s existing popularity.

Daiso’s beauty potential has recently been upshot by Son&Park Arti Spread Color Balm, priced at 3,000 won ($2.21) and is out of stock due to its popularity as of Tuesday afternoon. After people began sharing online that the product was as good as Chanel Lip and Cheek Balm priced at 63,000 won, customers rushed to buy up the product.

Daiso previously enjoyed a sales boom at its cosmetic aisles when it launched VT Cosmetics’ Reedle Shot Facial Boosting First Ampoule in 12 milliliters (each package containing six two-milliliter sticks) for 3,000 won. The product was sold by VT Cosmetics for 30,000 won in a 50-milliliter volume.

The number of cosmetic brands on shelves at Daiso stores has reached 34 and their products over 310. Son&Park, Tonymoly, Twinkle Pop, A’pieu, IPKN& and Chocho’s Lab are among 11 color cosmetic brands selling their products at Daiso. Since 2021 when the company sold just four cosmetic brands, its beauty sector has grown large.

“We’ll increase the number of beauty brands to sell, availing trending products at our affordable prices,” a Daiso official said. He added that Son&Park has drawn interest from buyers in overseas locations including a Japanese retail company.

Selling at Daiso has also proven to be advantageous for cosmetic firms, as supplying Daiso doesn’t require a huge shipment as other retail chain companies do. Under Daiso’s policy that they sell products at fixed prices without a discount, the supplying brands don’t have to spend money on promoting their products by advertising, either.

“The beauty industry here is watching successful cases of partnership with Daiso as a positive sign,” an official from a cosmetic company that supplies to Daiso said.

According to a consumer trend report by marketing firm MezzoMedia released on Monday, 41 percent of female consumers used cosmetic products at Daiso and 72 percent liked them. Most of the respondents said they purchased beauty products at Daiso because of cost-effectiveness, while others mentioned affordable prices, good reviews and good accessibility to the company’s extensive network of stores.

Daiso increased its stores here by 129 in the past three years. Last year, it registered 3.46 trillion won of sales, up 17.5 percent from the previous year, and an operating profit of 261.7 billion won, up 9.4 percent.

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