With the arrival of the Lunar New Year holiday, the number of Australians using cosmetics to enhance their appearance is on the rise, a report has found.
The number of cosmetics purchases rose by 12.3 per cent from last year, reaching $6.4 billion in the three months to March.
The jump in spending is partly attributed to the popularity of beauty brands including Bobbi Brown, Bobbi Lee and Benefit, as well as the launch of cosmetic products from international brands like Sephora and Zara.
The average consumer of cosmetics is now spending $6,000 a year on cosmetics, up from $5,000 in the same period a year ago.
The rise is largely attributed to Australians buying the products at a rate of 1.8 per cent a year, up nearly a fifth from a year earlier.
“The trend is clearly continuing,” said Joanna Prentice, a senior analyst at The NPD Group, in a report.
“Australians are continuing to spend more on cosmetics.
The growth is not sustainable,” she said.
“But the trend is a bit of a mystery.”
Prentice said the popularity and affordability of products were the biggest factors behind the jump in the number buying.
“We are seeing a shift away from cosmetics being primarily for the individual,” she added.
“There are some cosmetics brands that are very niche and very focused on individual needs.”
There are also signs that the popularity is waning, with the number purchasing fewer products.
“As consumers are becoming more aware of the benefits of cosmetic treatments, they are also becoming more sensitive to price and the cost of products,” said Professor James Mowbray, director of the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute of Consumer Studies.
The Nudge Foundation said the average Australian woman was spending $4,000 more on cosmetic products a year.
“This means that the average woman spends an additional $600 a year for her cosmetics,” said Nudge’s chief executive officer, Paul Parnell.
“It is the average consumer that is the biggest beneficiary of cosmetic trends.”
He said the trend was being driven by the rising popularity of products like Zara and Benefit.
“Beauty has always been a social event and that has always made people feel good,” he said.
Zara has also taken a lead in pushing the trend by launching a beauty line for the New Year, with its products available at stores across Australia.
“With this new year, Zara is going to give you a whole new way to make your face shine,” said Zara beauty director of global retail marketing, Julie Kavanagh.
“Zara has a range of products that are really designed to give your skin a boost, to boost your energy levels, to improve the texture of your skin, to make it look better, to help with hydration and to give it a shine,” she explained.
“If you want to see how these products work, you can use them to give a more natural look to your skin.”
Kavanah said the beauty trend was changing the face of the industry.
“For so many years, the beauty industry has been very social and had to cater to a certain group, so it’s been very expensive,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“And now we are starting to see an opportunity to bring more people in and start making money for the consumer.”
The report says the increase in cosmetics spending was driven by Australians purchasing more cosmetic products, up by 12 per cent, on average.
The amount of money spent on cosmetics also increased, from $6 billion to $6 million, on an annualised basis.
While it was not immediately clear why the trend had occurred, experts have speculated it could be because the products were priced lower.
But there was also the issue of consumers being aware of their weight, which was one of the most common concerns.
“One of the things we noticed when we started our study was that there was a huge gap between the weight of women in general and the weight that people were selling for,” said Parnill.
“So it may be that that gap between these two groups is a result of that awareness.”
Dr Andrew Lyle from the National Centre for Healthy Living said there were also a range more consumer products available to buy for men and women.
“Men have more options,” he told ABC News.
“Women are a little more reluctant to spend money on products.”
But he said that was also changing as consumers became more aware.
“I think the trend has really gone from being a male-dominated industry to being more inclusive and open,” he added.
Dr Lyle said while he hoped the trend continued, it would not last.
“My hope is that women and men, both women and the men who are buying the product, will keep buying it, so they will be able to use it for their own health purposes and to help people to feel better,” he explained.
Dr Parnall agreed.
“Hopefully this will continue,” she noted.
“Cosmetic products will continue