Aussies hit with higher cosmetics prices


cosmetics, make up, beauty, lipstcikA Choice review of some popular lipsticks, moisturizers, and colognes has found Australians are paying up to 200 per cent more than overseas consumers for exactly the same products.

With the emergence of online shopping, Aussie consumers are only too easily aware of the price differences in what they’re paying compared with overseas.

“Until recently, consumers relied on bricks and mortar stores to price products appropriately. But now it’s easier than ever to run a price check online to compare product prices – and many Aussies don’t like what they’re seeing,” said Kate Browne, journalist, Choice.

As an example, Revlon Colourstay Ultimate Suede Lipstick is priced at $A25.95 at On British website it’s $A15.09, and at Walmart in the US the prices drops to $A7.89 (plus tax).

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“There is no way price differences of this size can be explained by the usual arguments we hear about supposedly higher costs of doing business in Australia,” Browne said.

Thanks to consumer and local retail pressure, some products have recently come down in price. Brands such as Clinique, Shu Uemura, and Lancome have announced price drops of up to 40 per cent  for some products, however, these drops can often just be a marketing ploy, reducing only one or two flagship products and making a big fuss about them.

“Price discrimination is an issue Aussie consumers face in many markets. Choice’s submission to the IT pricing inquiry queried why they’re often charged more than consumers overseas for a variety of computer, software, and gaming products.

“Our advice is that if you’re not happy with a price, shop around to find the best deal.”

Australian consumers are also advised to check out the heavily discounted online-only retailers who primarily deal in parallel imports (also known as the grey market).

“If you think pricing is unfair, be vocal. Get in touch with the offending companies through social media and ask them why their prices vary.”

Aus prices (exc. GST) US prices US prices in AUD (AUD$1 = USD$0.9512)* Difference UK prices UK Prices in AUD (AUD$1=£GBP.5922)* Difference
MAC Lipstick  $35  $31.82  $15  $15.77 102% £15  $25.33 38%
Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Suede Lipstick  $25.95  $23.59  $7.48  $7.86 200% £8.99  $15.18 71%
Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturising Lip Colour Balm  $35  $31.82  $17  $17.87 78%  £ 17  $28.71 22%

For more information on Choice’s tests and reviews, click here.



1 comment

  1. Scott posted on December 5, 2013

    And this is precisely why the GST-free threshold on imported goods SHOULD NOT be lowered. Stop the artificial protectionism for greedy local distributors - if they're competitive the GST will make no difference at all.

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