Bargain reports and analytics

Hongkongers’ cosmetics preferences

PicodiJuly 3, 2020

The first mentions of make-up date back to ancient Egypt. Even then, people used the prototype of eyeliner, and both men and women wore make-up. Since that time, cosmetics and the perception of make-up itself have diametrically changed. Nowadays, trends come and go every season, and the preferences of Hongkongers are constantly evolving.

How much money do Hongkongers spend on cosmetics yearly? Which factors determine the purchase of cosmetics? How do men and women feel about eco cosmetics? And how do we compare to other countries? analysis team answered these and other questions related to the cosmetics market.

Beauty has its price

Which cosmetics do Hongkongese women prefer?

Hongkongese women’s’ toiletry bags are quite spacious — on average, they contain as many as 23 beauty products. It is no wonder that a typical Hongkongese woman spends around HK$4,400 in a year on cosmetics. On the other hand, among these 24 cosmetics, only 9 are in regular use. It could be explained by the fact that 32 per cent of the surveyed women buy cosmetics when they are discounted, in reserve. 29 per cent buy cosmetics when they run out and 39 per cent whenever they feel like it.

How do Hongkongese women choose their cosmetics? Most of the surveyed women (68 per cent) chose price as a major factor determining the purchase. Brand of the cosmetic is crucial for 63 per cent of the surveyed respondents, and 40 per cent chose ingredients. Less important are influencers’ recommendations (21 per cent) or friends’ opinions (14 per cent).

Considering the fact that most of the respondents consider price as the most important consideration, it is not surprising that only 36 per cent of women prefer premium cosmetics, more expensive than the regular ones. 42 per cent allow themselves to buy such cosmetics occasionally, and 22 per cent don’t buy them at all. Price is also the decisive factor for choosing between regular and eco cosmetics, which became quite popular in recent years. The majority of the surveyed women (62 per cent) declared that they pick green cosmetics only when the price is reasonable. 21 per cent always buy eco cosmetics, and 17 per cent don’t have any interest in the ecological aspect of beauty products.

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

The most popular beauty products in Hong Kong

For many women, make-up is an integral part of the morning routine. However, one-fifth of the surveyed Hongkongese women do not wear make-up at all. Among those who do, 42 per cent wears it daily. 43 per cent does make-up sometimes, and 15 per cent does it only for special occasions.

How much time do Hongkongese women usually spend in front of the mirror? Among the women aged 18 to 50, 54 per cent spend 5 to 15 minutes on make-up, and one-fifth less than 5 minutes. 27 per cent of surveyed Hongkongese women take much more time doing make-up — as much as half an hour.

An average women’s make-up bag contains many products, including some of the same kind. Statistically, Hongkongese women own 7 lipsticks, 4 lip liners, 5 blushes, 4 mascaras, 6 eyeshadows, and 7 fingernail polishes.

Through the looking glass

Cosmetics in Hong Kong compared to other countries

In Hong Kong, the most popular beauty products are lipstick, eyebrow pencil, foundation, concealer, and blush, and women spend around US$568 a year on cosmetics. How about our neighbours?

Malaysians spend less than Hongkongers — US$313. Their favourite cosmetics, besides lipstick, foundation, eyebrow pencil, and blush, is powder.

Surprisingly, American women also spend much less than Hongkongers, around US$396a year. With US$405 spent on cosmetics each year, women in Australia are ahead, but still behind the Hongkongers.

Men vs cosmetics

How men buy cosmetics?

How do men feel about cosmetics? First of all, they spend much less money on cosmetics than women — HK$2,375 a year, which is close to just half of the average woman’s beauty budget. They also own fewer beauty products (7 pieces), although they only 4 use regularly. What is interesting, only 71 per cent of the surveyed men buy cosmetics by themselves — the remaining 29 per cent admits that it is mom or partner who buys cosmetics for them.

As opposed to Hongkongese women, men usually buy cosmetics when they run out (46 per cent). 45 per cent buy cosmetics when they are discounted, and 9 per cent when they feel like buying. Same as women, the main factor determining the choice for men is the price — 65 per cent. Still, the brand is also important (60 per cent), as well as ingredients (24 per cent).

Hongkongese men are also less likely to buy premium cosmetics — 31 per cent claim that they never buy them and 33 per cent do only occasionally. When it comes to eco cosmetics, almost half of the surveyed men declared that they do not care about their ecological aspect. One-third buy such cosmetics when the price is reasonable, and 21 per cent prefer eco products no matter what.


This report was based on survey results conducted among 9300 people in 44 countries in June 2020.

Public Use

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