South Korea - Country Commercial Guide
Market Entry Strategy
Last published date:

Establishing and maintaining a strong business relationship is critical to succeeding in Korea. Companies hoping to enter the Korean market should visit the country frequently to cultivate contacts and to better anticipate business conditions.  With COVID restrictions lifted, traveling to Korea is now once again important for companies hoping to make sales in Korea.

A local presence is essential for success. U.S. companies should retain a manufacturer’s representative or distributor, name a registered trading company as an agent, or establish a branch sales office.

Regionally, COVID has had a lasting effect on both Korean and pan-Asian consumer behavior and trends even as the pandemic subsides. This will be the “new” normal.  U.S. companies should be aware of these when planning their marketing strategy in Asia. Some business trends to keep in mind are:

·        CONVENIENCE - ONLINE: Convenience shopping is on the rise in Asia.  Online shopping has shown a significant increase, particularly during the pandemic as it proved safe and easy to purchase goods without leaving the safety of their home.  Offline strategy alone is no longer a strong marketing strategy.  Having a strong online presence (social media using cross-border apps) to reach Asian consumers is a strong marketing strategy for the region. It is recommended to do pre-market research to see if your company is ready for Asia. 

·        UNIQUENESS: Asian consumers are becoming more optimistic about the future and have been showing an increasing willingness to spend money on goods and services despite ongoing challenges. As household incomes are rising and Asian consumers are more willing to spend money on premium and luxury goods, with an eye for uniqueness and exclusivity, new products/brands have an opportunity in the market with a good marketing strategy.

·        “HEALTHY” AS A MARKETING PARADIGM: After the COVID-19 pandemic, “healthy” has become a top priority for many Asian consumers.  They are looking for more natural alternatives in both food and body-care. Asian consumers are attracted to aesthetically pleasing packaging, with clean labels and positive nutritional claims.

The Commercial Service in Korea (CS Korea) is eager to assist U.S. companies in developing connections by identifying and introducing potential buyers, distributors, and importers.

Please consult Let our Experts Help.

For support relating to U.S. agricultural commodities and processed foods, please consult the Exporter Guide.