SINGAPORE: Korean beauty products are a top choice for personal use among many East Asian consumers but they are more likely to give international brands as gifts according to a new study.

Researcher Nielsen polled 1,900 women aged 18 to 55 in four key markets – China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore – who had purchased Korean beauty products for their personal use in the past six months.

"Their loyalty towards Korean brands were different when it comes to shopping for personal use or as a gift, providing a potential gain for international brands from switching," reported Yvonne Lum, vp/ sales effectiveness, Nielsen.

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"Whether they can be successful in the market relies on their strategies in terms of innovation and product variants, in particular, focus strongly on the hydration benefits or more adapted to Asian market," she told Marketing Interactive.

In general, international beauty brands were seen as being of good quality and having a sound reputation, with Chinese survey respondents highlighting French products in this regard, while the other three markets preferred Japanese products.

Nielsen's research also revealed some distinct differences in the attitudes of respondents towards the marketing of Korean products.

Those in mainland China, for example, showed a greater interest in all things Korean and were far more likely to buy products used by their favourite characters in TV shows: 48% would do so, compared to just 15% of those in Taiwan, 14% in Hong Kong and 11% in Singapore.

But product placement was not a complete waste of time in these three markets as even if consumers there weren't moved to buy products used by certain characters their curiosity was at least aroused, even more so than in China.

Thus, 48%, again, of Chinese respondents said they thought about trying a product they had seen in a TV show, but the equivalent figures for the other three markets were much higher: 67% in Hong Kong, 73% in Taiwan and 75% in Singapore.

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive; additional content by Warc staff