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Exports of Hallyu-related consumer goods rise 15.2% in H1

[THE INVESTOR] Consumer goods related to Korean pop culture were a bright spot in this year’s exports so far, rising 15.2 percent in the first half of 2016, data showed Monday.

According to a report from the Korea International Trade Association’s Institute for International Trade, exports of Hallyu-related consumer goods rose for both emerging and advanced markets. 

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The basket of so-called “K-consumer goods” includes food, pharmaceutical, beauty, fashion, lifestyle, and sports products whose exports can be influenced by the popularity of Korean pop culture abroad. The term was created to refer collectively to strong consumer product export categories this year.

For this product group, export sales are divided almost evenly between emerging and advanced markets.

The exceptions are bath products and pharmaceuticals, which export more to emerging markets due to rising demand and less competition from producers in those countries, the report said.

While this basket of goods rose by double digits, overall exports of consumer goods fell on-year by 7.8 percent to reach 38.4 billion dollars. The decrease was led by an 11.6 percent decrease in exports of durable goods.

The biggest growth in exports came from bath products such as soap and toothpaste, which saw a 42.1 percent on-year increase to hit $171 million in the first half of the year.

The biggest driver of overall growth in consumer goods was cosmetics, which rose by 38.5 percent on-year to reach $1.8 billion in the first half of 2016. Lipsticks in particular rose by 93 percent.

Product categories that saw export decreases last year -- including fashion, bags, belts, and fitness and hobby products -- bounced back early this year.

Researcher Shim Hye-jung, who authored the report, wrote that although K-consumer goods showed promise for growth, there needs to be more diversity in the products and countries that have strong numbers. Growth was concentrated in bath products and cosmetics, while exports mainly went to the US, Japan, China and Southeast Asian countries.

By Won Ho-jung/The Korea Herald (