SEOUL, South Korea became the fifth-biggest exporter of cosmetics to Europe last year, supported by natural ingredients and cost effectiveness, a trade organization said Tuesday.

According to the Brussels office of the Korea International Trade Association, South Korea ousted Japan for the No. 5 spot by exporting 135.79 million euros (US$159.15 million) worth of cosmetics last year. The total marks a twelvefold leap from 11.33 million euros in 2010 and a 46.8 percent increase from 2016.

The United States was the biggest exporter with 1.21 billion euros, followed by China (638.4 million euros), Switzerland (574.1 million euros) and Canada (136.99 million euros), KITA's tally showed.

KITA said K-beauty products appeal to European consumers with natural ingredients, such as ginseng, aloe and green tea, matching the growing preference for a vegan lifestyle. They are also cost-effective, it said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency