Brand Profile: COSRX, how the K-Beauty brand set itself apart with its solution-based products
Consumers are becoming aware of their skincare choices and as a result, more brands are creating skincare products that cater to specific lifestyles. According to Statista, the most important skincare product features that consumers look for are value for money, high-quality, products that are suited to or positioned for their skin type and functions or benefits. Consumers want skincare products that meet their unique needs, which is why there’s still a gap in the market for emerging brands who want to put personalisation first. K-Beauty brands have created a buzz in the beauty industry in recent years, they are renowned for focusing on specific skincare needs, unique innovations and for offering a multitude of benefits that consumers all over the world have come to know and love.
COSRX was founded in 2013 by Jeon Sanghoon. Within the space of a year, their products were generating buzz among the international skincare community with customers reporting tangible results. For many, the brand was a breath of fresh air. Their simple packaging. no-fuss formulas and affordable price points marked a shift in natural skincare. “For over 10 years, we have been curating skincare products that meet the consumers’ individual needs and trends in the global market, including Korea. As a team, we have sensitive skin and we found that we were not able to use any of the products that were in the market at that time, and that became a foundation for us to curate skincare products that suited our skin, which let us into the industry,” a representative for the brand said.
Rather than pursuing the standard through skincare, COSRX decided to capitalise on personal experience through the provision of accessible products that can help solve common skincare concerns. “We wanted our customers to know that they weren’t alone and we still hope that they’ll be able to regain the confidence they deserve when they use our products,” a representative said. COSRX’s focus was Korean skincare including technology, function and ingredients that was built upon collective data they created a list of simple active ingredients. The brand started selling their products in Korea before expanding into surrounding countries.
COSRX set themselves apart from other skincare brands on the market by focusing on two things: their customers and data. “We look into the lifestyles of people to find answers to the questions we have as a brand and through that experience, we are able to provide products that are user-friendly and satisfactory to our customers. We always say that ‘the answer is within our customers’,” a representative said. When it comes to data collection, the brand has adopted a clear and simple approach. “We review all kinds of data. This can be something as simple as a comment left on our Instagram Feed, other SNS comments or comments that have been accumulated by a review analysis software engine that we developed on our own,” a representative said.
COSRX has one mission: to become the best hypoallergenic skincare brand for those with sensitive skin. The brand believes that philosophy should be strong-willed and that listening to what consumers want is crucial. “By listening to our customer’s real-time feedback, we are able to learn why our customers chose COSRX, and that is our foundation when making decisions,” a representative said. COSRX’s bestsellers are the Acne Pimple Master, Aloe Soothing Suncream, Low ph Good Morning Gel Cleanser, Snail Cream and Snail Essence.
According to the brand, one Acne Pimple Master Patch is sold every 25 seconds. They are made from hydrocolloid patches that protect wounded or troubled areas from getting worse while keeping the humidity of skin intact to prevent further breakouts. The Aloe Soothing Suncream is formulated with Aloe Arborescens Leaf Extract. Lightweight in texture, it feels like a moisturiser and doesn’t leave a white cast, making it easy to layer on sun protection at any time during the day. One sun cream is sold every 30 seconds in the UK alone.
With over 8 million units sold worldwide, the Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser gently cleanses the skin without stripping it of its natural oils. It has been created with all skin types in mind and according to the brand, users will instantly reveal a firmer and brighter looking complexion. Over five of the brand's products have 100,000 5-star reviews combined and the Snail Cream and Snail Essence are the best-selling products on Amazon in the US. The Snail Essence is enriched with 96.3% snail secretion filtrate, which works to keep skin moisturised and illuminated all day. The Snail Cream is a rich gel-type cream that absorbs instantly into the skin while leaving your skin feeling fresh and comfortable.
COSRX is able to market its products with the help of tools that analyse customer reviews and feedback from all sales channels and social media platforms. “Collected data is implanted to build strategies to enhance communication and ensure our consumers’ voices are reflected in our marketing campaigns,” a representative said. The brand defines its social media strategy as a ‘cyclical conversational tool’. It doesn’t tell consumers what they need but instead listens to what they want and responds by creating a product that will cater to these needs. Post-launch, it follows up by sharing educational content on its social media channels.
The brand acknowledges that skincare can be over complicated, so it works to counteract this through content creation. “Oftentimes, people get confused as to what ingredient they should be using for their skin concerns and how they should be using the product. We don’t simply launch products, but we want to reduce trial and error for the benefit of our consumers. If they have questions or concerns, we want them to talk to us and we will respond by creating content that will better help them navigate their skincare concerns,” a representative said.
To market to a younger demographic, COSRX has an influencer marketing strategy in place that aims to connect the brand with new consumers, increase brand awareness and help drive connections. “Influencer marketing is a powerful tool. Our business growth can be attributed to the slew of consumer/micro-influencer-created reviews on social media platforms. We have also tapped into affiliate marketing. When used alongside influencers, it can be used to track conversion,” a representative said.
The brand’s latest innovation is The Vitamin C 23 Serum. Its dedicated consumer research centre found that consumers use Vitamin C in the hope of what it can do for skin, however, there are some concerns about irritation and stinging that it has taken it upon itself to address. “Many of our customers who have sensitive skin have had to stop using Vitamin C. We have come across terms like ‘irritating’ and ‘stinging’ for quite some time, which is why we developed a concentrated Vitamin C serum with maximum effectiveness and minimum irritation.
For over 10 years, COSRX have specialised in solution based skincare. Solution-based skincare targets specific skin concerns and simplifies the formulation process by cutting off unnecessary products and only providing the solution that’s essential. As the demand for hyper-specific skin care continues to rise, new and existing brands have an opportunity to cater to consumers’ unique skin care needs in a way that doesn’t compromise skin health. “We think the solution-based skincare industry will grow even bigger than it is now. We are seeing a massive trend that appears to be influencing business models, and that is individuality,” a representative said. Consumers want products that will suit their individual needs and COSRX’s driving force will always be to curate products that target specific concerns and enhance the regimes that consumers already have in place.