Influencer marketing in Korea is a promising industry since a few years ago as the country has a huge social media user base. The influencer marketing industry in South Korea is also considered the best bridge to promote small businesses that lack contact with their customers. Here are the key insights & statistics of influencer marketing in South Korea in 2023 that will help you run successful campaigns in the Land of Morning Calm.
Are you looking for an effective way to grow your business in South Korea?
Here is the thing: leverage influencer marketing.
The influencer marketing industry in Korea has developed into an advanced stage.
Where influencers are building their own businesses, leveraging their booming popularity & engaging audience.
This is because Korea’s social media user base is HUGE.
Korea is literally a country with the second-highest rate of active social media users globally.
South Korean online buyers are also active followers of influencers.
If you plan to expand your business and succeed in reaching out to target audiences in South Korea,
Influencer marketing is the answer.
Here are the essential insights & statistics of the influencer marketing industry in Korea in 2023,
To fuel well-informed decisions in your campaign execution.
- Kakao VS Naver, the powerhouse of South Korea’s digital marketing industry
- 16,5% of Korean online consumers follow influencers on social media
- 56% of Korean online consumers trust influencer’s recommendations to buy a product
- Korean Influencer Fashion Industry hit $2.1 billion in 2022
- Fashion virtual influencers are hype in South Korea
- Micro-influencers are the most vital influencer tier in South Korea with the highest engagement rate
What is Influencer Marketing in South Korea?
Who doesn’t know South Korea?
The hometown of countless K-pop idols, singers, actors, & dramas.
The country is known for its phenomenal K-wave influence in the world.
Don’t get me wrong, Korea is also a prolific country for digital marketing, especially influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing in South Korea means social media marketing involving brand endorsements and product placements from The Land of Morning Calm’s influencers, content creators, or key opinion leaders (KOL).
The chosen figure, whether it’s an influencer or content creator,
Will then promote the product or service from a brand on their social media posts as sponsored content.
Influencer marketing is popular in South Korea since 2015 and the market has valued rapidly in a year at $2 billion.
Korean influencers are becoming “sellers” too, making the purchase persuasion becomes more cohesive.
Influencer marketing in Korea is indeed a promising channel to reach Korean online consumers.
“But how did the market grow rapidly? What are the reasons?”
Let me explain why.
Why is influencer marketing effective in South Korea?
There are several reasons why influencer marketing in Korea is very welcomed by online customers.
But mostly because the Korean social media user base is huge.
Here are the top reasons why influencer marketing is effective in South Korea.
The social media user base is huge in South Korea
The top reason why influencer marketing is effective in South Korea is because of its extra large & active online population.
In fact, 98% of South Korean people are browsing the internet daily.
And 96% of Korean digital consumers are already on social media.
That’s only 4% away from 100%.
Korea is even entitled as the world’s most connected country.
Korea’s internet connection has already hit 5G and almost every social media users are digitally savvy,
No wonder that people in their 20s, 30, 40s, and 50s are all connected online in Korea.
The more people on social media, the more your brand can reach wider & relevant audiences.
Making the influencer marketing channel the most promising method to reach Korean.
Korean online customers trust influencers’ recommendations on social media
Korean online customers trust recommendations from people on social media, especially influencers.
Moreover, they prefer following influencers rather than brands on social media.
This is because advertisements are everywhere, forcing Korean social media users to give their attention to them.
The way Korean digital consumers shift their trust is something brands should see closely.
Korean digital consumers love when an influencer actively interacts with their audiences.
Those two reasons are the strong causes of the rapid growth of the influencer marketing industry in Korea.
Read here if you want to know deeper about the influencer marketing market in Korea from the perspective of Korean Instagram influencers.
Now, let’s talk about the popular platform if you want to run a successful campaign in Hanguk.
Since the market is particular, you might need a different strategy to reach out to Korean digital buyers.
Kakao Vs Naver: The Duo Powerhouse in Korea’s Digital Marketing Market
As we are talking about South Korea, we also have to talk about platform domination in the country.
Korea’s digital marketing is a particular market that is filled with homegrown domestic platforms.
In 2024, South Korea joined the trillion dollars country club and now the country is the tenth-largest economy in the world.
The prosperous economy in Korea results in having brands that are recognized internationally,
Such as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai.
The economic situation also makes Korea build its own powerhouse digital platforms: Kakao and Naver.
The two even sparks public demand to stop their duopoly control over the South Korean platform industry.
In 2023, KakaoTalk is the most-used social media platform in South Korea.
Right behind KakaoTalk is Instagram and then Facebook.
Here are the top 4 of the most popular social media platforms in Korea in 2023:
- KakaoTalk ranks first and is used by 87% of South Korean users
- Instagram ranks second and is used by 63% of Korean users
- Facebook ranks third and is used by 52% of Korean users
- KakaoStory ranks fourth and is used by 30% of South Korean
There we have 2 platforms from Kakao and the other 2 from Meta in the top 4.
Kakao is that influential in Korea.
Then, where is TikTok? The short-form video platform is ranked 7 and is used by only 19% of Korean social media users.
This indicates that brands should pay attention more to Kakao social networks instead of only focusing on Instagram or other Meta products.
Remember: South Korea is a particular country that has its own economic power
So be considerate of which platform can reach better and wider Korean audiences.
Now, let’s talk about what makes Kakao powerful in South Korea.
KakaoTalk is the most-used social media platform in South Korea
Previously, we’ve talked about KakaoTalk being the most popular social network in Korea.
One obvious reason: South Korea has a big pride in using local products.
Even if Korean consumers need to pay more for local brands, they will be willing to take it.
Especially when the country is among the largest economic country in the world, the pride becomes greater.
Fun fact: South Korean initially started using KakaoTalk because it was a free app.
Established in 2006 under the mother company of Kakao, KakaoTalk has reached 53 million users in South Korea.
The most popular social network generated KRW 467.4 billion in revenue in 2022.
So far, Kakao has 4 main businesses in hand, they are KakaoTalk, Daum Portal, Kakao Page, and Kakao Friends.
Now in 2023, KakaoTalk is the most-used social network in Korea.
It’s essential to understand the digital platform mapping of South Korea if you are planning to penetrate the South Korean digital marketing market.
Too many companies are making the same mistakes by not picking the right platform.
Kakao is a long-life rival of Naver, from messenger, Social Network Services (SNS), and digital payment, to music streaming platforms,
The two always have a brand to compete with.
Let’s dive deep into Naver.
Naver: The ruling search engine platform in South Korea’s digital industry
Here is another dominating platform in South Korea, Naver.
Naver is Google in the Korean version.
Korean online users are actively using it as the main search engine.
Established in 1999, Naver is now used by 85.6 million users worldwide and hits $6.4 billion in revenue in 2022.
The number is almost doubled from Kakao.
Not far from Kakao, Naver also has several businesses,
But Naver Portal, Naver Webtoon, Naver Pay, and Naver Shopping are their main focuses.
Regarding social networks, Naver relies on LINE,
But the messenger app falls to 8th rank in the most-used social media platforms chart in South Korea.
However, it’s still essential for brands to pay attention to Naver
Since it’s one of the two dominating companies in Korea’s platform industry.
The platform even released an influencer search option in 2020 to connect with influencers directly on their platform.
Users will be given tailored content from influencers across platforms such as Naver Blog, Naver TV, Naver Post, YouTube, and Instagram.
16,5% of Korean online consumers follow influencers on social media
Talking about influencers, Korean digital buyers actually trust them.
In fact, influencers are the third top social media accounts followed by Korean online users in 2023.
The first rank is their closest ones: friends, family, and relatives.
Here are the top accounts in social media followed by South Korean in 2023:
- 34% of Korean online users follow friends, family, & people they know on social media
- 19% of Korean social media users TV shows or channels
- 16% of Korean social media users follow influencers and experts
Yes, South Korean respect public figures.
Look into the types of social media accounts followed by South Korean in 2023 here.
Even if the percentage looks small, there is still a chance for brands to leverage influencer marketing.
There are 46.81 million people in South Korea that are actively scrolling their social media.
It means there are still 7.7 million more people to reach.
Even if they don’t follow them, influencer content can still be discovered through Explore or personalized pages.
56% of Korean online consumers trust influencers’ recommendations to buy products
This stat will increase your belief in influencer marketing.
If you want to sell, pick a good seller that can persuade consumers to buy.
This stat of “56% of Korean social media users are convinced to purchase a product endorsed by an influencer”
Clearly pictures the saying.
The other 9% trust & purchase whatever the influencer is promoting.
The word-of-mouth marketing strategy is a strong method to reach Asian consumers, including in South Korea.
That’s why Korean digital customers are more convinced of influencers’ reviews that involve their own experiences using the sponsored product.
What are you waiting for?
Seeing the given stats, there is no doubt that influencer marketing is very effective to grow your business in South Korea.
Jump on influencer marketing now or die.
Cosmetics/beauty is the most popular product endorsed by Korean influencers
Korea is known for its leading beauty industry.
And if you are a cosmetic brand trying to grow your business in Korea, this section is a must-read for you.
From plastic surgery, beauty & cosmetics brands, to the beauty trend itself,
Korea has positioned itself to set global beauty trends & standards.
No wonder beauty products are the top endorsed product from a Korean influencer.
Clothing places second and nutritional supplements & diet products place third.
Here are the top 3 purchased products endorsed by Korean influencers:
- Cosmetics is endorsed by 41% of Korean influencers
- Clothing is promoted by almost 31% of influencers in Korea
- Nutritional supplements & diet products are endorsed by Korean influencers
Korean people are known to take great care of their bodies & appearances,
It’s very normal for grooming products to be in the top 3 positions.
Looking at this, it’s highly recommended that beauty brands leverage influencer marketing to market their product in Korea.
You will have a high chance of increasing your sales with Korean influencers.
Korean Influencer Fashion Industry hit $2.1 billion in 2022
Korean influencers are also considered as the sector that boosts the national economy.
One of the influencer marketing sectors, the fashion industry alone has reached $2.1 billion in 2022.
It is estimated that it will keep growing until 2028 and reach $5.5 billion in value.
The big value earned from a sector means there is an open opportunity for businesses to market their products.
If you are a fashion brand trying to expand your business in South Korea,
Here are the key trends of the fashion influencer industry to watch.
Important Fashion Influencer Marketing Trends to Watch in 2023
Fashion brands, gather up.
Here are the crucial insights you need to penetrate the South Korean fashion influencer industry
And run a successful influencer campaign with them.
Check these out.
Fashion virtual influencers are hype in South Korea
Virtual influencers are a popular thing in influencer marketing nowadays.
In Korea, virtual influencers are popular among fashion enthusiasts,
And they are chosen to promote fashion clothing trends.
For example, Rozy, the first virtual influencer in Korea, which will also be discussed later,
Is created by an agent working at South Korea’s fashion & tourism hub.
She is now followed by more than 120k people on Instagram and is constantly promoting brands on her page.
The first “Influencer Department” in the university is in South Korea
Because of the growing popularity of influencers,
There will be the first “Influencer Department” in South Korea’s Daegu Cyber Security.
The goal is to push industry professionals in influencer marketing.
The trend will be quickly heard by other universities,
More & more students will be interested in the success of being an influencer.
K-Pop Idols are the prominent fashion face in the South Korean fashion influencer industry
K-pop industry is already known worldwide.
In Korea, K-pop idols are often looked up to as leading fashion figures.
The Korean influencer fashion industry is mostly about K-Pop idols
Being the brand ambassadors of luxury fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, and more.
Seeing this, which one is the most influential one, K-pop celebrities or influencers?
Micro-influencers are the most vital influencer tier in South Korea with the highest engagement rate
It seems like fashion brands can only leverage popular K-pop idols to advertise their products.
In fact, it’s not.
Fashion and any brand can work with micro-influencers to reach as many as new consumers and gain more conversions.
According to a study by Korea KB Finance, a micro-influencer has the highest engagement rate at 25% to 50%.
While mega-influencers only have a 2% to 5% engagement rate.
Yes, collaborating with prominent figures of K-Pop idols will bring your business to greater sales.
Then, how about small businesses that only have small budgets?
This is where micro-influencers become crucial.
They are affordable for a small budget but they guarantee you real results.
Micro-influencers are just as powerful as mega-influencers or celebrities.
Their audience might not be as wide as the big ones,
But they can persuade people to buy since they have dedicated followers who will trust their recommendations.
That’s more important for small businesses right?
The best Influencers in Korea in 2023 you can work with
This guide is incomplete if we don’t give you recommendations on the best influencers to work with.
From beauty, and fitness, to photography,
Here are the top 10 influencers in Korea you should collaborate with.
1. Lee Eun Hyung – Established Korea’s Female Fitness Influencer
Lee Eun Hyung is another influencer who does pilates.
However, this Korean fitness influencer sometimes gives a refreshing twist to it,
Like doing pilates at places she is visiting, like Central Park in New York.
2. PONY Syndrome – The Most Famous Beauty YouTuber in South Korea
PONY is the most influential beauty influencer in Korea.
She focuses on creating makeup looks in her videos,
From sweet, natural, glossy, cat eyes, doe eyes, and bold makeup looks, she is the master.
3. Yoon Jong-Woon – Best Travel & Photography Content Creator in South Korea
Yoon Jong-Woon is a Korean photography influencer who loves traveling
His username “yoon_the_road” represents how he is always on a trip.
Along the way, he makes sure to capture the beautiful views he saw and shares them on social media.
4. Rozy – Korean First-ever Virtual Influencer
Here is a hyper-realistic robot creator, originating from South Korea.
I mean, can you see the difference between her and a real person? I don’t think so…
Claimed as the first virtual influencer from Korea, Rozy has generated over 140k followers,
Posting daily lifestyle on her Instagram, and working with lots of brand endorsements.
5. Dayeong – The Korean Beauty Instagrammer Turned YouTuber
Started on Instagram with makeup routines and product reviews,
Kim Dae Yeong moves to YouTube with the same niche.
She posts a lot of makeup tutorials, such as those to achieve long-lasting, flawless, and natural makeup looks.
6. Jang Sunghoon – Best Male Fashion Influencer from Korea
Jang Sunghoon is a prominent male fashion influencer in Korea.
Dressed in leather jackets, casual loose pants & t-shirts,
His style is the perfect inspiration for the younger Korean male generation who are into fashion.
7. Ordinary Dogs Studio – Dog Photographer & Content Creator in South Korea
Ordinary Dogs Studio is a photo studio that specializes in taking cute and majestic dog pictures.
With their creativity, the team is ready to turn your dogs into models.
If you want to keep memories of your dogs through a professional photo shoot, come into this studio and see for yourself!
8. Hogonheil – The first Korean virtual family Influencers
Virtual influencers are a thing these days, including in Korea.
Get to know the first Korean (maybe worldwide) virtual personality that brands themselves as a family, Hogonheil
The virtual family is composed of three siblings:
Ho and Gon are twin brothers, while Heil is their older sister.
9. Kyung-Ah – The Versatile Female Korean Fitness Influencer
Kyung-Ah is a highly dedicated fitness influencer, her account mainly revolves around weightlifting.
Kyung-Ah mostly posts Instagram reels of her exercising at the gym,
And her Instagram account is full of determination to be the person she wants to be.
10. Dasha Kim – The Ex Flight Attendant Korean Beauty YouTuber
Dasha Kim is tanned skin beauty YouTuber from Korea that was previously a flight attendant.
She got famous for her makeup and hair looks as a flight attendant before flying.
Now, she focuses on making content about skincare and daily makeup for her 286K subscribers to watch.
How to start an influencer marketing campaign in Korea?
Having all the insights doesn’t mean you can start your campaign easily.
If you want to execute your influencer campaign successfully in Korea, follow these best 2 options.
Choose one of the top Korean influencer marketing platforms
Going back to back between your worksheet and Instagram is a big waste of time.
Imagine how long you will need to find the right influencers only from research on the Instagram app,
Looking at the influencer profiles one by one.
Instead of wasting your precious time looking for the best influencers,
You can use one of the best influencer marketing tools in Korea to save time and it helps you manage your campaigns well.
Just set the filters with the influencer category you want,
And let the big database of the influencer tool displays the relevant users for you.
You can also use campaign analytics, bot followers detection, campaign & CRM management, and many more.
Having an influencer marketing tool is going to help the most out of your campaign in Korea.
Use the service of the best influencer marketing agency in Korea
If you don’t have time to run an influencer campaign, give it to a trusted influencer marketing agency in Korea.
It will save you time & energy.
Plus, you will be guaranteed real results from them without actually running the campaign.
Even if they charge you more than paying for an influencer tool, they’re still worth your money.
An agency is mostly filled with practitioners who have had expert knowledge in the ever-changing marketing industry for years.
They literally have the best experience and insights into the industry.
Plus, they have a dedicated creative team.
Just give the campaign brief and you will get the best results in hand.
What is the best influencer tool to find influencers in Korea?
Our answer is Inflact.
We already tried and reviewed plenty of influencer marketing Tools & Software.
And Inflact proves its Free Features are the best ones to discover potential influencers in Korea.
You will get 20% OFF if you want to use their professional tool using the promo code INSG20
As it said, it is totally FREE and is very easy to use.
Just type the preferred query, from keywords, and emails, to a set of filters,
Then you will be displayed with the most relevant KOLs & figures for your brand.
Plus, you can add them to your list (sign-up required) or download the search results easily to your device.
Inflact is also a complete marketing tool where you can schedule posts on Instagram,
Use its Free hashtag generators, and more.
You can also save the targeted profiles from the influencer search as your benchmark
To target followers from their audiences if you use Instagram automation.
My Take: Level up your influencer marketing strategies in Korea by using the best 2023 insights & trends
Penetrating a new industry, especially in a new country is not easy.
You need important insights about the market industry & consumer behavior in order to succeed.
Reading into these key statistics of influencer marketing in Korea is the right step for you.
The Korean online buyers’ insights, the brands, the influencers, and the campaign ideas,
Will be your best fuel to run the most successful influencer campaign in South Korea that bring you the goals you target.
The Korean influencer marketing industry is huge and is projected to grow more in the future.
The demand also comes from Korean digital consumers, they trust influencer recommendations more than anything else.
However, don’t forget to audit the influencer you want to work with.
Never fall for obvious scams.
This is 2023 and if your brand is not on influencer marketing yet, you lost the competition even before competing.
Start leveraging influencers to wider market your product, spread more brand awareness, and increase your sales.
You have no idea how to start?
Use the best influencer marketing tool or hire an agency to help you with the influencer campaign.
And if you look for one, we are open to collaboration 🙂
Hundreds of clients have been handled by us collaborating with trusted influencers, no fake ones.
Try us and receive the best, real results from your influencer campaign in South Korea.
Note: Do you want to get featured? Do you have additional data to add or a solution to help our readers? Just contact us here.
Sources: 414 Media Pte Ltd, DataReportal, Statista, Korea Herald
Your Questions about Influencers and Creators in Korea 👇🏼
Is South Korea good for influencer marketing?
Yes, many Korean social media users follow influencers and 56% of them purchase a product endorsed by them. These stats show that there are demands from Korean online consumers to have trusted sources before buying a product and influencers are one of them. Start leveraging influencers in Korea and gain successful business benefits.
How much do Korean influencers make?
Korean influencers with 1K followers can earn a few 10 dollars per social media post, while those with 100k more followers can earn $1.000-$2.000 per post. And then, as expected, influencers with more than a million followers can earn 20K-30K dollars per post.