Scandinavian and Nordic lifestyle & design are trending in South Korea, as in many other international markets. In addition to design-loving consumers, more and more industry professionals are now being influenced by the Nordic boom. As a result, more and more business opportunities are now opening up for Finnish lifestyle & design companies, whose offering matches the needs of the professional contract sales market in South Korea.
In addition to ordinary consumers, the Nordic trend in lifestyle and design reflects also on the B2B market. In South Korea, homes, apartment buildings and corporate buildings are regarded highly as they are seen to represent one’s lifestyle or company values. For this reason, companies constructing buildings and spaces for housing and corporate use are keen to invest in solutions that add value and extra flair to their projects.
In the eyes of Koreans, Finnish lifestyle & design represent the Nordic trend most strongly with environmentally friendly materials, high-quality craftsmanship, and simple, yet extremely functional design. While there is great interest among those already familiar with Finland, the general awareness and popularity of Finnish products are lower than of other Nordic countries, like Sweden. In the design and interior field, brands like Ikea are already representing the Scandinavian trend and selling low-cost furniture, lighting, interior goods, and construction materials. Currently, there are no premium Nordic brands in South Korea doing the same.
Big potential in built-in furniture
The largest contract sales market for domestic furniture and construction materials is in built-in furniture, as many apartment and corporate buildings in South Korea are fully designed & furnished when hitting the market. In built-in furniture, domestic furniture producers are currently dominant and more competitive in price compared to imported premium furniture brands. International brands can, however, choose to enter the market by supplying their products through Korean furniture companies, or through collaboration with domestic distributors, who have a strong position in the local contract market.
Interest towards Finland on the rise
Activities by Business Finland’s Lifestyle Finland program have already made market entry fruitful for many Finnish companies. Lifestyle Finland B2B events and promotions in South Korea have introduced Finnish lifestyle, fashion and design to local buyers, potential customers, industry influencers and media. As a result, the general interest towards Finnish design and expertise is on the rise.
In the contract market, high-quality furniture, interior design and building materials by some Finnish brands are already well known, but high pricing creates challenges for new sales. For Finnish companies, a competitive wholesale price level is critical in the B2B contract market, due to large quantities of products needed for projects. Overcoming the challenges in awareness and competitive pricing is key for Finnish companies planning market entry steps in the Korean market. However, if a Finnish brand succeeds in standing out among competitors, success is likely. Experiencing design and using premium products from Finland have resulted in extremely positive feedback from Korean customers.
For Finnish companies, great business opportunities are now available in the contract sales market, where professionals seek unique design & knowhow in interior design, building materials, lighting, and furniture. The estimated volume of the demand in the contract sales market in South Korea is 3 trillion won (2.79 billion USD) in 2018.
Lifestyle Finland programs will organize a B2B event in Seoul in October 2018, dates TBC, for the Finnish brands interested in Korean project sales market. The event contains a small exhibition and buyer meetings in Seoul. More information firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a Finnish company interested in this business opportunity, please contact us for further information.