Demand for polishes continued to decline in South Korea in 2020, as part of a trend already present in the country. Furniture polish has been increasingly struggling to attract consumers due to concerns about potentially hazardous ingredients, which has seen South Koreans turn to alternative solutions such as olive oil to polish wood for instance.
Polishes are readily available from the dominant distribution channel of modern grocery retailers such as hypermarkets and supermarkets, while traditional grocery retailers also holds notable value share. Nevertheless, both channels experienced declining sales and loss of value share, while e-commerce strengthened its overall position in 2020.
Polishes remained an extremely consolidated competitive landscape in 2020 amongst three players; Malpyo Industrial Co Ltd, Kangaroo Co Ltd, and SC Johnson Korea Inc (Pledge). Malpyo Industrial Co’s strength is linked to its dominance of the larger shoe polishes, where it offers a wide range of products including Malpyo Aromax Shoe Polish and Malpyo Liquid Shoe Polish, although Kangaroo Shoe Polish is the leading brand in this category.
With ongoing casualisation in society in South Korea, particularly amongst younger generations, and working from home likely to become the new normal for many in light of the pandemic, reducing the need for formal attire, demand for shoe polish is expected to marginally decline over the forecast period. Furniture polish on the other hand, is set to expected to see a more pronounced decline in comparison, as consumers increasingly move away from chemical-based cleaning solutions within the home, with a greater focus on air quality, as many perceive the ingredients used in these products to be potentially harmful to their health, particularly if they are offered in a spray/aerosol format.
With polishes offering weak potential for further growth, leading category players such as Malpyo and Kangaroo are likely to look at other ways of expanding within home care. They are therefore likely to focus less on shoe and furniture polish, and develop in other areas such as window/glass cleaners and floor cleaning systems or even expand into offering cleaning services for the B2Bmarket.
Consumers of polishes are likely to continue to search for the most affordable prices over the forecast period, with declining brand loyalty encouraging them to try alternative products that they find online from smaller companies, whilst enjoying the convenience of home delivery. E-commerce can therefore support this growing demand for smaller brands, enabling them to gain greater visibility as they would struggle to gain distribution through larger channels such as hypermarkets.
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This report originates from Passport, our Polishes research and analysis database.
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