South Korea has one of the largest and fast growing luxury markets in the APAC region. In 2019, the Korean luxury market was valued at $12.7 billion, with brands like Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent seeing a spike in sales despite the deliberate increasing in price of products.
Wealthy women in in the 40s to 60s have been the traditional target for luxury brands in Korea but more recently, both men and women in their 20s and 30s have emerged as a new demographic for luxury retailers. Simply put, luxury goods are a status symbol for Koreans- a mindset that fuels consumers to buy more and allows these brands to thrive.
As more millennials flock to buy expensive leather goods, jewelry and perfume, the marketing and PR departments of these luxury brands have shifted their focus to other forms of advertising. Influencer marketing and has becoming increasingly necessary for domestic brands and luxury lines to succeed, with Instagram as the most popular platform to showcase these partnerships.
As the luxury market thrives in South Korea, more brands are choosing to partner with famous idols, K-pop stars and celebrities via Instagram. Check out the top 17 partnerships with K-Pop idols!
17. Kris Wu ✕ Louis Vuitton
❖ Instagram: @kriswu ❖ Followers: 7.6 million
16. Sehun ✕ Zegna
❖ Instagram: @oohsehun ❖ Followers: 21.4 million
15. aespa ✕ Givency
❖ Instagram: @aespa_official ❖ Followers: 2.9 million
14. Suho ✕ Bvlgari
❖ Instagram: @kimjuncotton ❖ Followers: 8.8 million
13. Suzy ✕ Dior
❖ Instagram: @suzybae__ ❖ Followers: 15.6 million
12. Baekhyun ✕ Burberry
❖ Instagram: @baekhyunee_exo ❖ Followers: 20.4 million
11. Hwasa ✕ Gucci
❖ Instagram: @_mariahwasa ❖ Followers: 5.6 million
10. Irene ✕ Prada
❖ Instagram: @renebaebae ❖ Followers: 8 million
9. Jisoo ✕ Dior
❖ Instagram: @sooyaaa__ ❖ Followers: 37.8 million
8. Rosé ✕ Yves Saint Laurent
❖ Instagram: @roses_are_rosie ❖ Followers: 37.7 million
7. Kai ✕ Gucci
❖ Instagram: @zkdlin ❖ Followers: 11.6 million
6. G-Dragon ✕ Chanel
❖ Instagram: @xxxibgdrgn ❖ Followers: 19.5 million
5. Jackson Wang ✕ Fendi
❖ Instagram: @jacksonwang852g7 ❖ Followers: 22.5 million
4. IU ✕ Gucci
❖ Instagram: @dlwlrma ❖ Followers: 19.4 million
3. Chanyeol ✕ Prada
❖ Instagram: @real__pcy ❖ Followers: 22.8 million
2. Lisa ✕ CELINE
❖ Instagram: @lalalalisa_m ❖ Followers: 48.5 million
1. Jennie ✕ Chanel
❖ Instagram: @jennierubyjane ❖ Followers: 41.8 million
Ambassadors over Models?
Ambassadors are not exactly models. Although both have signed contracts with the brands to promote their products, ambassadors tend to focus more on the interaction with customers. While models rely on physical appearance to drive sales, ambassadors bridge gaps between a brand and audience in a more personal manner.
“As K-pop stars such as BTS and Blackpink started gaining worldwide popularity, Korean celebrities have been establishing a strong presence in the fashion industry,” said Lee Kyeung-un, a director at ESteem Entertainment. “In terms of the market size and the influence that Korean celebrities have on the public, Korea is no longer a country that global luxury brands can easily look down on."
The strong presence (following size) of Korean idols on social media is also appealing to the international luxury brands. Every idol on this list has at least 5 million followers and as many as 48 million (Blackpink's Lisa).
Instagram is a powerful platform that allows brands to be able to reach a loyal and diverse audience. By targeting these younger 20 and 30 something followers via social media, luxury brands have been highly successful in helping the growth of the luxury market in South Korea. Consumer trends point to another year of growth yet again, for 2021.
If you are interested in learning about Korean influencers and partnerships, check out these articles: