Australians are expected to spend $50 billion in the lead up to this Christmas – and beauty products are certain to be at the top of many shopping lists.

According to the 2017 Pre-Christmas Sales Predictions report by the Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan Research, Australians are likely to spend 2.8 percent more this Christmas than last.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said that although the estimate is well below the 4-5 percent growth that retailers would have liked it is nonetheless “better than recent figures”.

“There may have been a lot of change throughout the industry this year, but one thing is for sure, and that’s the fact that Australians love Christmas, as it is the season of giving.”

Beauty salon owners wanting to capitalise on the growth in Christmas spending will be heartened to note that in the US makeup is becoming an increasingly popular gift choice – and is likely to be in Australia too.

NPD Group beauty industry analyst Larissa Jensen said the company’s latest Prestige Beauty report reveals that December makeup sales could overtake fragrance sales for the first time in retail history next month.

Since 2014 the dollar value of makeup sales in December has increased from 32 percent to 37 percent, while fragrance sale have decreased from 43 percent to just below 40 percent in the same period.

Jensen said “this represents a significant closing of the share gap” between the two highly giftable beauty categories.

“Makeup has taken on a greater role in holiday sales over the last few years as consumers find excitement in a category ripe with fun and whimsical items perfect for gifting,” she said, adding that retailers have noticed the change in consumer attitude and have therefore “put a heavier emphasis on the category during key holiday months”.

Jensen said the “big sales” in the makeup category in December are likely to come from small items “as many pre-Christmas makeup launches have placed emphasis on the mini-trend”.

“Sales of mini/travel size prestige makeup products grew by 58 percent year-to-date through September 2017, and have increased exponentially as sales have tripled over the last three years,” she said.

“Makeup sets and lip colour and gloss, which are popular holiday sellers, are also some of the mini products seeing the highest up-tick in sales so far this year.”

Salon owners not stocking makeup should however be able to win a share of Christmas spending with their skincare offering.

The gift of great skin may be an offer too tempting for consumers to resist,” said Jensen.

“Skincare gift sets hold the greatest importance in December, and the top-sellers tend to be heavily anti-ageing focused.

“In 2016, eight of the top 10 sets showcased a full-size anti-ageing hero product.

“With the full set often priced close to the cost of the main item alone, the value appeal makes skincare sets viable gift options, and also an opportunity for consumers to consider purchases for themselves.”

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