GST & Cosmetic Products: Not A Happy Scenario For Women!

City Lights: Lifestyle

By now everyone knows that the Union Budget 2018 has left the middle class seething in anger but very few realise that the new GST rates will dig deep into the purses of women and make them cringe! Why? Because it has left most of the cosmetics and beauty products costlier. Be it the basic foundation or the perfumery, women will have to shell out extra next time they walk into the neighbourhood store!

Though the new rates are yet to be implemented, those in the beauty business can already feel the heat, particularly since the marriage season will be at peak during April.

Sharing her reaction with My City Links, Subhashree Hati, owner of Cuttack-based unisex salon ‘Makeup By Romma’ says, “Odisha has a very small beauty industry though it has been growing significantly in the last few years. With people becoming increasingly image conscious, beauty and body care products are basic needs today and visiting a salon at least twice in a month is almost mandatory. So, the industry will feel the pinch this year and more than customers, salon owners will be affected as we usually charge more on products and not services.”

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Though the new rates are not applicable, she says, the price of body care products will shoot up which means that customers will now have to pay more for services like facial and make-up, which will affect business in the marriage season.

Echoing similar sentiments, Nitu Singh, who runs her beauty parlour in the capital says, beauticians and those who run parlours have to buy products for business on a regular basis. “Once prices go up, we will have no choice but to charge more from our customers for our services,” she explains.

As per her calculations, a regular facial which cost around Rs. 500, after the implementation of the new rates, could go up to Rs. 700. Unfortunately with so much of cut-throat competition and national players in the beauty business, she feels, smaller players would have no choice but to bring down service charges to retain old customers.

She apprehends that the increase in product cost may also cause some small-time parlours to compromise on quality. “The customers would not understand the budget dynamics and so to retain them, many small parlours might end up using cheap products without their knowledge, which is neither good for the customers nor for the beauty industry.”

Not just those in salon business, the middle-class consumers would also feel the pinch when prices of beauty care products will shoot up. “Moisturiser, face power, nail paint and lipsticks are basic essentials used in every household. So, an increased rate of these products will hit our monthly budget,” claims Anita Makhija, a housewife residing at Ashok Nagar.

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Similarly, Prakruti Routray, a college-going girl believes that the government should understand that beauty products are as essential as any other common household item. Increasing their prices would burn a hole in the pockets of younger generation. “As it is, we struggle to manage a budget for cosmetics from our monthly pocket money. Higher rates will only add to our woes and the problem is we cannot do without them,” she points out.

Pooja Roy, working as an office assistant in a MNC, cannot agree more. “Why just college students; even we need to look presentable every day as we go to office and a minimal make-up is a necessity for us. Increasing prices of beauty products will make them a luxury for us, which we still have to indulge in,” she sums up.

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GST & Cosmetic Products