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Face value: Aussies paying hefty premium for cosmetics

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After the recent revelation that Australians pay more for medicine, a CHOICE review has shown that Aussie customers also pay up to 200 per cent more for their cosmetics and fragrances than overseas shoppers.

The popularity of online shopping has made local shoppers aware of the higher prices Australians pay for certain goods, including electronics, music, software and clothing.

“Until recently, consumers relied on bricks-and-mortar stores to price products appropriately,” said CHOICE journalist Kate Browne. “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.”

While some brands, such as Clinique and Lancôme, have responded to consumer pressure by lowering their Australian prices by up to 40 per cent, many popular labels still sell their products here for significantly higher prices.

Even when taking tax and shipping costs into account, buying a product from an overseas website like StrawberryNet will still score you a better deal than you will find locally.

“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.

“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.”

The New Daily compared prices of some popular cosmetics products – a popular women’s bronzer powder, NARS’ Laguna, on Australian site Mecca Cosmetica (top) and on American site Sephora (bottom):

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Proving that this issue is not limited to women’s products, here’s a popular men’s aftershave – Ralph Lauren Polo Blue – on the David Jones site (top) and on US discount site StrawberryNet (bottom):

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Earlier this year, a federal senate committee examined the inflated prices paid by Australians for technology products. Senior executives from Microsoft, Adobe and Apple were asked to explain why local consumers were charged substantially more for some products than people overseas.

The Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications found that local prices for IT products were sometimes twice those charged offshore. It said Australians paid up 66 per cent more for Microsoft products, while an Adobe product like Photoshop could be as much as 42 per cent higher.

In its final report, the Committee made recommendations including a ban on geoblocking, which would help Australian consumers access lower prices available offshore.