The Problem Of Pricing


It's a pretty well known fact that guys and gals in the US have access to the best range of products and the best pricing going 'round. They have access to places like Target, Ulta, CVS and Sephora which gives them awesome access to brands across the price spectrum. The UK equivalents of CVS and Sephora are Boots/Superdrug and Space NK whereas we Aussies have Priceline, Mecca Cosmetica and Myer.

I thought I'd put in my two cents as to why Aussies pay such steep prices for our cosmetics. My little experiment involves comparing the price of 5 different products from different price ranges available across the board and try to figure out some of the reasons as to why we're paying what we are.

1. Revlon Colourstay Foundation (Normal/Dry)
USD: $12.99, GBP: £12.49, AUD: $34.95
Revlon Colourstay has reached cult status and is quite impressive for a drugstore foundation but unfortunately in Australia it's 2.7 times more expensive than in the US (trust me, I did the math). Revlon is one of the most unfairly priced brands available over here with most if not all their products being sold at least double the US retail price. Revlon's Australian pricing is on par with US mid-end makeup. Bummer.
2. Benefit Coralista
USD: $28, GBP: £23.50, AUD: $51
At nearly double the US retail price comes Benefit's Coralista Box O' Powder. This is one of the products that I nearly bought into the hype before realizing that even Nars' blushers were cheaper than Benefit's offering. While you can order from the US site, the in-store price is just extortionate.
3. YSL Touche Éclat (Concealer/Highlighter)
USD: $41, GBP: £25, AUD: $57
YSL's Touche Éclat, a truly beautiful highlighting concealer that gives that 'lit from within' look that everyone is after at the minute. If you were to buy one thing from this post at Australian price, it would be this as there is a difference of about $16 but it's worth paying for the luxe feeling. 
Maybelline Volum' Express Falsies - Black
4. Maybelline The Falsies Mascara
USD: $6.99, GBP: £7.99, AUD: $19.95
Maybelline mascaras seem to be a staple in a lot of my friend's makeup bags but are they really worth it? At over double the US retail price, this isn't one to pick up in store if you can avoid it. Personally, I have a few Maybelline mascaras and they just don't compare to my Face Of Australia Impact Curl which is around half the price.
5. MAC Lipstick
USD: $16, GBP: £15.50, AUD: $36
Finally on to the most hotly debated brand, MAC. Generally considered mid-end by US consumers, it is well into the high-end bracket for us gals living down under. A single MAC lipstick is nearly three times the price here in Australia, is it worth it? They are nice lipsticks but I avoid buying them solely because I don't want to support a brand so blatantly ripping off some of their consumers.

So, why do we Aussies pay such high prices for cosmetics? I've heard a lot of arguments, such as Australia has a higher minimum wage, transport costs, higher rent costs for retailers, taxes, import costs and demand.

Really, the reason makeup costs so much here is because there is so little active competition driving costs down so retailers like Myer don't feel the need to price their products competitively because there is no competition. Competitive pricing results in loss of profit for major companies like MAC and Revlon so they'll keep their prices high for as long as they can so they can maximize profits.

It's great to support brands like Illamasqua who have promised to offer similar pricing to their overseas branches, I just wish other brands would take this initiative. Brands to avoid if you don't want to be ripped off? MAC, Revlon, Benefit, L'Oreal and some Maybelline. Many of these products can be bought online for American pricing but I would not recommend buying in store. I'd really recommend supporting Australian owned local brands.

Luckily, there seems to be a light at the end of this tunnel. Sephora has announced that they will be opening stores in Australia with similar pricing to the US which may provide the driving force to convince retailers to lower their prices so they can stay in competition.

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