Women in the UAE and Saudi Arabia have topped the global charts in spending on makeup and skincare products, making the two countries the world’s cosmetics capitals, according to a new report.

The biggest spenders are Saudi women, who rack up $909 (3,350 UAE dirhams) in yearly bills, followed by Emirati women, with an annual tab of 694 dollars (2,550 dirhams), according to a study by discount site Picodi.com.

Picodi polled more than 9,000 respondents over 40 countries worldwide to understand the cosmetics preferences of consumers in different markets.

Asian consumers outdid Europeans in the top ten list, with Hong Kong’s $568 annual spending landing in the third position, followed by the United Kingdom ($505) in the fourth spot and Romania ($479) in the fifth. Rounding up the top ten most cosmetics-obsessed markets in the world are Ireland ($444), Thailand ($441), Singapore ($427), Australia ($405) and Finland ($397).

The beauty and personal care market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) have been rising in recent years. The market’s retail value jumped by eight percent to $34.9 billion in 2019, from $32.4 billion a year earlier.

According to Euromonitor International, personal care spending in the UAE alone could reach 8.8 billion dirhams by 2022.

Nikolay Kashcheev, an analyst at Picodi, said that wearing make-up or using skincare products is a big part in the Arab culture, despite restrictions around dressing in public.

“In Arab culture, women need to hide almost their entire body in public. But regardless of the laws and customs, women want to look special and wearing make-up is the way to do so,” Kaschcheev told Zawya.

However, the current economic slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic could impact overall spending on beauty products this year. Buying make-up, which is a non-essential item, may take a back seat as consumers prioritize basic necessities.

“We expect people to cut their budgets, including cosmetics. Our survey shows that women regularly use 10 out of 23 owned cosmetics. This means that for some time, they would not buy new products just because they want it,” said Kascheev.

Preferences of Emirati women

In its latest study, Picodi found that Emirati women’s toiletry bags are quite spacious. On average, they contain 23 cosmetics products.

They’re also quite particular with brands when they go out shopping, with 60 percent of them saying a product’s label play a crucial part in their purchasing decisions. A smaller number, (34 percent) also said they prefer premium items, the ones that are on the pricier side.

Eco-friendly products are quite popular as well in this market, but 63 percent of the women said they take home green products only when the price is reasonable.

According to the Picodi study, while many are brand-conscious and have the tendency to go for luxury items, overall, most women prefer value for money, with 71 percent of Emiratis saying they choose price as a major factor determining the purchase.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)



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