Recent statistics issued by the Saudi Customs suggest the amount of imported cosmetics in the past year exceeded SR2.3 billion.
Saudi Customs spokesperson Issa Al-Issa said: “The weight of imported cosmetics amounted to approximately 44.6 million kg.”
According to one magazine, the cosmetics market is estimated at SR60 billion. While predicting an 11 percent annual growth for the sector, the magazine estimated cosmetic surgery clinics in Saudi Arabia will increase 10 times over the next five years.
It also predicted a 26 percent increase in skin care products.
The report said that the Middle East’s share of cosmetics amounts to 20 percent of the total global market, with Saudi Arabia at the top for Middle Eastern countries.
Besides perfume, hair-care products are showing an increasing importance in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
The report stated that the future of cosmetics is driven by the growing demand for these products, 12 percent internationally and 15 percent in the Gulf.
Dr. Salim Bajajah, director of administrative and financial sciences faculty at the University of Taif, said that the Saudi market was the largest in the Middle East and people prefer to buy luxury products.
He explained that the cosmetics industry develops constantly and companies release new products onto the market.
He added that women on average spend SR15,000 annually on beauty, personal care, cosmetics, skin care, fragrance, and hair care which amounts to a large part of the family budget.
Financially-independent women spend 70-80 percent of their salary on cosmetics. “This has a major negative affect on the Saudi economy and its impact will become greater if we consider measures to include non-extravagant polices in the current budget,” Bajajah explained.
Some reports indicate that Saudi imports of cosmetics are in excess of SR1.88 billion which is due to population growth, which increases demand.
Beauty expert Rabab Al-Zahrani said that her job required her to use products personally before recommending them to customers. “I spend SR10,000 on cosmetics per week, especially if I buy on the international market. Saudi woman are very careful about their skin because of the weather here,” she said.
Businesswoman Madawi Al-Hasoon said the Gulf region spent astounding amounts in the cosmetics sector. “Saudi Arabia is the leader in spending on cosmetics; the annual average is about SR400,000 with 11,000 salons in the Kingdom. Saudi women spend more than other Gulf women on beauty products,” she said.
Housewife Sarah Mohammad said that she goes shopping two-three times a week to “buy beauty products that I learn about on social media. My average exceeds SR8,000 per month.”