The tax on beauty products will affect everyone differently
Retires Joanne K. (a pseudonym), 57, says that since she hasn’t an income, the GST will affect people like her more.
“However, if I change brands now, it’s also a risk as I’m so used to my current skincare regimen,” says Joanne, who has been using a homegrown, water-based skincare brand for the past two years.
“I don’t like to use too many unnecessary products; just enough to ensure my skin is nourished and protected,” she says, adding that each set of her skincare products costs her about RM600. They can last her about six months, hence she feels that the 6% GST price hike won’t affect her adversely.
“The GST ruling is like a petrol hike: we still need to use the petrol, and likewise, women still need to use skincare products. In the first six months, sales may drop a little, as people may buy less, but after that, they will get used to it.”
After all, Joanne adds, many other countries have been implementing GST for many years (although these countries may have better benefits for the people in return such as better healthcare and education). She has no plans to stock up, but intends to use her products a little more sparingly next year.
“Since I have no kids, I have fewer commitments. For those with children, they will feel the pinch more,” says the former draughtsman.
Freelance copywriter Samantha Richard is not too enthusiastic about the gloomy economic forecast next year.
“Even though it’s only 6%, many things that we spend on will be affected and the cumulative effect will be more than we think,” says the 36-year-old mother of two.
“I will have to see what happens after the GST is implemented to see how my overall expenditure will change. But I will look around for lower-priced skincare and make-up products which are hopefully of the same quality,” says Samantha.
She currently uses American and French brands, and spends about RM300 to RM400 on make-up products about every six months, and an average of RM400 to RM500 quarterly on skincare.
“I will also look for more affordable brands for my serums and eye creams, since these products cost more. I have started surfing the Internet for natural but effective home remedies,” she adds.
Meanwhile, auditor Kwan Ka May, 22, is trimming her skincare budget as she has just joined the workforce. She uses an affordable pharmacy range which costs about RM150 altogether. The medium-sized products usually last her about two months.
“Skincare is a necessity. Since I’m already using an affordable range, the price increase will not be a lot and I can continue using my existing brand,” says Kwan. However, she plans to cut down on her facials, which she goes for every three to four months.
“I intend to go for facials every six months after the GST. In between, I plan to do more home care regimens like DIY masks.”
Simone Chen, 40, on the other hand, spends twice as much on hair care products as she does skincare.
“I need to use those products to maintain my hair and scalp condition. In the beginning, I will feel the extra 6% pinch, but eventually, we will get used to it. I won’t change brands because I don’t want to compromise on quality.”
Entrepreneur Siti Amin (a pseudonym), 45, will stick to the same brand of skincare and make-up even after the GST. She has been using a high-end Japanese brand of skincare for the past five years and likes to try out different make-up brands.
“To me, skincare and make-up is a way of pampering myself. I will not sacrifice that source of pleasure. I’ll just have to work harder to make up for the price increase!” she laughs.
“A moisturiser that already costs RM300 now will probably be about RM318, so it’s not that much,” says Siti.
“Although skincare is not a ‘necessity’ compared to food, it is still an essential item for many women. I won’t be surprised if many of them switch to other brands, or reduce the number of products used, while staying with a basic range,” she opines.