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K-Beauty brand Etude set to open 30 doors in India before the end of 2023

In the bustling heart of India, where tradition and modernity coexist in a vibrant tapestry of culture, a new beauty sensation was born. Etude, a K-Beauty powerhouse, made its dazzling debut in the Indian market on April 30th, 2019, through an exclusive partnership with the renowned omnichannel beauty retailer Nykaa. Led by Paul Lee, the Managing Director and Country Head of AmorePacific Group India, Etude embarked on a journey to capture the hearts and minds of Indian beauty enthusiasts.

In a price-sensitive market like India, Etude adjusted its pricing strategy to offer products that are not only of high quality but also affordable and competitive compared to global prices.

In a freewheeling chat with IMAGES Business of Fashion’s Sanya Arora, AmorePacific Group India’s Managing Director and Country Head, Paul Lee & Assistant Director & Head of Marketing and Training, Mini Sood Banerjee, gives insights into the Korean beauty brand’s challenges and growth journey in the Indian market.

Let’s start with an overview of Etude’s journey in India

Paul: The story of Etude in India is a tale of adaptation and inclusivity. In a country known for its diverse skin tones, Etude recognized the need for a makeup revolution.

Etude’s story in India is one of adaptation, inclusivity, celebration, and anticipation of future trends. It’s the story of a brand that listens to its customers, understands their needs, and strives to provide them with the best in K-Beauty makeup. As Etude continues its journey in the Indian beauty landscape, it remains committed to being a brand that celebrates diversity, captures the essence of Indian culture, and embraces the ever-changing world of beauty.

Tell us about your retail presence in India.
Paul: Etude has extended its retail footprint by partnering with prominent e-commerce platforms such as Nykaa, Amazon, and Myntra. Additionally, the brand has established a retail presence at Tira Beauty, further enhancing its accessibility to consumers. Currently, we have operational stores in Tier 1 cities such as Boddess’ in Ambience Mall Gurugram, Tira Jio World Drive Mall in Mumbai, and Tira Sarath City Mall in Hyderabad.

Any upcoming stores?
Paul: In 2023, we have plans to open approximately 30 multi-store outlets, including outlets in Tier 2 cities.

So, has Etude executed any retail partnerships and collaborations in India?
Paul: Etude has expanded its market presence through partnerships with Tira Beauty, a notable Indian beauty retailer, and Tata CliQ Palette, a Tata Group cosmetics e-commerce platform.

Approach to the Indian Market 

How have you crafted a bridge to the Indian markets? Has it included a portfolio transformation?
Paul: We expanded its shade range to accommodate the rich tapestry of Indian skin tones. From lip and cheek tints to blushes, fixing tints, and eye shadow palettes, our products now span a wide spectrum of shades, ensuring that every Indian consumer can find the perfect match for their unique skin tone. But we went further, considering warm undertones, prevalent among Indian skin types, to create makeup products that not only suit different shades but also complement the undertones commonly found in the Indian population.

Etude’s journey in India is also a celebration of culture. Understanding the significance of festivals and weddings, the brand introduced exclusive collections tailored to these occasions. Products like the versatile ‘bling bling eyesticks’ and the travel-friendly ‘Muhly Romance’ eyeshadow palettes were designed to help Indian consumers create glamorous festive and bridal looks, even on the go.

And Etude didn’t stop at adapting to the present; it also embraced the future. The brand has shown a keen awareness of evolving makeup trends in the Indian market. After the success of matte lip tints, it is now gearing up to cater to the growing trend of glossy lip tints with the introduction of the “Glow Fit Lip Tint.”

How does Etude promote inclusivity and engage with the local market in India?Paul: Etude is bringing about innovation as well as a playful approach to the Indian market with a range of exclusive products and collections that cater to the diverse and vibrant Indian beauty landscape. Our goal is to resonate with the mood of every occasion and the preferences of our Indian consumers. Some of our exciting plans include:

  • Versatile Eyeshadow Palette Range: Etude will introduce a series of eyeshadow palettes that capture the essence of Indian culture, from vibrant, jewel-toned hues for traditional festivals to earthy, neutral shades for everyday wear, our eyeshadow palettes will be designed to suit every occasion and skin tone.
  • Beginner-Friendly Pen Eyeliner: Etude will launch beginner-friendly pen eyeliner that offers precision and ease of application. 
  • Trendy Glossy Lip Tints: Etude will introduce a line of glossy lip tints in a spectrum of shades.
  • Inclusive Shade Range: Etude showcases a diverse range of shades suitable for Indian skin tones, addressing the needs of a broad customer base.

Aside from this, we are concentrating on sustainable initiatives like expanding our range of eco-friendly packaging and promoting recycling initiatives to align with the country’s growing environmental consciousness. 

Considering that your manufacturing is done outside India, how do you manage your supply chain to ensure the timely availability of products in physical stores across India? Also, how do you ensure product quality and consistency, given the diverse climatic conditions here?
Mini: Ensuring timely product availability in our physical and online stores across India is our top priority. We maintain a responsive supply chain management system that anticipates demand and closely monitors inventory levels. Our commitment to product quality is evident through rigorous quality control checks and investment in adaptable product formulations designed to perform well in diverse climatic conditions.

How does Etude ensure that its products resonate with the diverse Indian consumer base?

Paul: Etude collaborates with influencers who have deep insights into the Indian beauty landscape. These collaborations help in understanding and addressing the specific beauty trends and preferences of Indian consumers. The brand actively engages with its Indian customer base to gather feedback and preferences. This two- way communication allows the brand to make informed decisions and adapt its products to meet customer expectations.

Let’s talk about the role of customer feedback and data analytics in Etude’s retail strategies in India.
Paul: As a K-beauty brand, customer feedback in India is one of the most crucial factors in product operations. Analyzing feedback from e-commerce and social media customers allows Etude to identify seasonally popular products, prepare attractive free gifts, and create strong product bundles within the platform. These insights serve as valuable metrics for the brand’s product development.

What is your pricing strategy for India?
Paul: Price sensitivity is a key factor in the Indian market. Etude has adjusted its pricing strategy to make products more affordable and competitive compared to global prices.

What is your marketing approach in the Indian beauty landscape?
Mini: We focus on product innovation tailored to Indian skin, expand through e-commerce, collaborate with retailers, leverage influencer marketing, offer affordability, and rely on data-driven insights for market agility.

Paul: We began by conducting market research and analyzing the strategies employed by our other AmorePacific brands. For Etude, we have implemented various influencer activities to create engaging content. Additionally, we’ve launched the Etude Academy, aimed at nurturing young influencers and providing them with valuable knowledge, fostering their growth in tandem with the Etude brand. Our efforts extend to hosting events in physical stores such as Boddess, Tira, and Tata CliQ, catering to the media, influencers, and our cherished customers who have a deep affection for our brand.

The genuine endorsements from influencers have established trust, leading to increased traffic to both our physical and online retail outlets. Additionally, our interactive content, promotional efforts, and user-generated posts have not only strengthened our market presence but have also provided valuable insights into consumer preferences, ultimately improving the overall customer experience.

What are some consumer-centric strategies that you have adopted to enhance the online shopping experience?
Paul: Etude offers a wide product range, detailed product information, user reviews, and ratings, personalized product recommendations, exclusive offers, secure payment options, a mobile-friendly interface, order tracking, and encourages customer feedback for continuous improvement.

What specific retail strategies and technologies will Etude implement to achieve its brand focus for 2023?
Paul: In 2023, Etude is set to captivate Gen-Z consumers with a blend of innovative retail strategies, including Digital AR Experiences, Sustainable Packaging, Exclusive Beauty Workshops, Synchronized Social Commerce, and Data-Driven Decision-Making, all reflecting our commitment to vegan formulas, trendy makeup, and eco-conscious packaging, enhancing customer engagement and brand loyalty.


Can you elaborate on Etude’s approach to sustainability and how it is integrated into the brand’s retail operations in India?
Paul: Certainly, our approach to sustainability is a fundamental part of our brand ethos, and it is seamlessly integrated into our retail operations in India. Here’s a more detailed explanation of how sustainability is at the core of Etude’s brand identity and retail practices in the Indian market:

  1. Eco-Friendly Packaging: Etude is committed to reducing its environmental footprint, and this begins with our packaging. In India, we prioritize eco-friendly packaging materials, such as recyclable paper and cardboard. We also minimize excess packaging to reduce waste and use soy-based inks for printing.
  2. Vegan and Cruelty-Free Formulas: Etude’s product formulations are designed to be vegan and cruelty-free. This commitment extends to our retail operations in India, ensuring that all products available to Indian consumers adhere to these principles.
  3. Consumer Education: Etude believes in raising awareness among Indian consumers about sustainable beauty choices. We provide educational materials both in-store and online, helping customers make informed decisions and understand the environmental and ethical aspects of our products.

In summary, sustainability is not just a buzzword for Etude; it’s a guiding principle that influences every aspect of our brand and retail operations in India. We aim to provide Indian consumers with beauty products that are not only trendy and playful but also environmentally responsible and ethically sourced. Our commitment to sustainability reflects our dedication to making a positive impact on the environment and society while delivering high-quality beauty products.

Expected Trends In The Beauty Industry

So, what are the expected trends and growth prospects for the Indian beauty industry in 2023, and how does Etude plan to align with these trends at the retail level?
Paul: In 2023, the Indian beauty industry is embracing vegan beauty, inclusivity, and e-commerce growth. Etude House is aligning with these trends by offering vegan products, diverse shade ranges, and focusing on e-commerce expansion while also expanding offline stores in collaboration with beauty platforms.

What are Etude’s expectations from the Indian market in the coming year, 2023-24, and how do these expectations influence retail strategies?
Mini: India is the fifth-largest global destination for retail. The industry growth is riding on several factors, including rising disposable incomes, exposure of Gen Z to international brands, and ease of doing business. Indian market is very challenging and demanding, so Etude’s expectation is that consumer demand should definitely go up and especially for tints. Since Gen Z and young professionals love the tints and a little hint on the lips gives a natural look. Additionally, young girls who require affordable yet quality products can look for etude products for this festive season. 


Which are the top 3 technologies implemented by Etude?

  1. Omnichannel Integration: Merging online and offline retail for a unified experience.
  2. Data Analytics and AI: Using data insights to make informed decisions and offer tailored products.
  3. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Try-On: Enhancing online shopping with interactive virtual try-on experiences.

We are dedicated to staying tech-savvy to elevate the beauty shopping experience for Indian customers.

Growth Results

Can you provide sales figures or growth percentages for Etude in India, showcasing its performance and trajectory in the market?
Paul: Etude has really done well since the time we have launched it in India. Customers love our different kinds of tints. Etude has given a growth of 100% over the past year and we are targeting 150% growth this year. 

AmorePacific Group’s Presence in India
Mini: At Etude, we’re part of the AmorePacific Group family, which includes Laneige for skincare, Innisfree for green beauty, and Sulwhasoo for luxury skincare. Together, we bring a world of beauty innovation to India, collaborating to offer a diverse range of products and expertise.

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