Aussies still spending on little luxuries despite cost of living squeeze


Aisling and Margaret Cunningham, founders of the Lula Eye Mask. Source: Supplied

Australians are still trying to enjoy the small luxuries in life, with 15 million Aussies forking out and digging deep into their pockets for small indulgences, little treats and certain comforts despite the cost of living crisis, according to research by Australian comparison site Finder.

Approximately 1,096 Australians participated in the Finder survey, which revealed that 74% of Australians, which is equivalent to 15 million Aussies, are unwilling to part with certain luxuries and one in five Australians, equivalent to 3.4 million people, haven’t given up anything.

Gifts a priority

At e-commerce business Byron Bay Gifts, founder Zoe Gordon says the gifting business has noticed an upswing in birthday and sentiment gifts during the first half of this year.

Byron Bay Gifts founder Zoe Gordon online shopping

Byron Bay Gifts founder Zoe Gordon. Source: supplied

“We attribute this to the importance of sharing family moments — particularly during what could be difficult financial times for some people,” she tells SmartCompany

“These shared moments of goodwill and support continue to hold significance for our customers, maintaining their importance even during challenging economic times.”

Gordon says the company’s current bestsellers are gourmet food hampers featuring “locally-sourced artisanal products”. 

“We’ve noticed a steady demand for our products that has spiked since the Reserve Bank has been holding interest rates,” she says. 

“Our average order value remains the same as it was during the same period last year, showing that despite an economic downturn, customers still value the importance of sending high-quality gifts.”

Meanwhile, entertainment was at the top of the list of luxuries that Australians refuse to give up, with 20% of Aussies still spending on entertainment, according to the Finder survey, with 18% of Australians also unwilling to put the brakes on both dining out and enjoying takeaway coffees.

Wellness matters

Gordon also owns Byron Bay-based businesses Loyal Crush, which sells cruelty-free skincare, makeup, haircare, perfume and supplement products and gifts.

“In tough economic times, the desire for small indulgences like skincare and beauty products often remains strong,” she says. 

“Research suggests that self-care practices, such as maintaining a skincare routine, can enhance mood and reduce stress, providing much-needed comfort and normalcy.” 

This is backed up by the Finder research, which found 14% of Australians are still purchasing their favourite beauty products or services despite the economic climate. 

Gordon says her business has seen an increase in perfume sales and products that offer wellness benefits through natural elixirs and powders.

“Customers seem to be focusing on purchasing products that add value to their daily routines and enhance wellbeing, even if they may be cutting back in other areas,” she suggests. 

“Our current best sellers at Loyal Crush are our perfume and makeup brands. Even in a tough economic climate, these items resonate with our customers as attainable luxuries. 

“These products offer a moment of elegance and self-pampering without the need for significant financial investmentIt’s a way for our customers to maintain a connection with luxury and self-care, affirming that they can still enjoy the finer things in life even when being mindful of their spending.”

Treat yo’ self

Brisbane sisters Aisling and Margaret Cunningham are the founders of Australia’s first self-warming eye mask, the Lula Eye Mask. They are also witnessing a trend of Australian women treating themselves to self-care products despite the challenging economic times. 

“This is very evident as we have just had the most successful month in sales since our brand’s inception two years ago – even surpassing the gifting Christmas season,” Aisling tells SmartCompany

“And we think there’s a good reason behind it. Women are showing that they understand how important it is to take care of themselves by taking time out, especially when times are tough, and they’re willing to spend on affordable products that can help them do that.”

Margaret says the eye mask allows customers to relax and recharge at home “without the hefty price tag”. 

“When life feels hard, the small act of gifting yourself some self-care becomes even more important, it’s how women can take charge of their own self-worth, happiness and need for time out,” she says. 


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