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Off colour: fewer Aussie women buying eye shadow

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2014 – September 2015 (n=953).

Despite the best efforts of beauty editors and smoky-eyed starlets everywhere, eye shadow appears to be losing popularity as the years progress, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal.

In the 12 months to September 2011, 16% of Aussie women 14+ bought eye shadow in any given six-month period. Fast forward to September 2015, and the figure has fallen to 13% — a decline of some 250,000 women.

However, although the overall trend for buying eye shadow is heading south, some brands are holding their own – even thriving -- in this changing market. Category-leader Revlon has actually increased its customer base, being chosen by 13% of all women who bought eye-shadow in an average six months (up from 11% in 2011). This improvement saw it snatch top spot from previous frontrunner, Avon (purchased by 11% of eye-shadow buyers).

Australia’s 10 best-selling eye shadows


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2014 – September 2015 (n=953).

Other eye-shadow brands bucking the downward trend of the last few years are Maybelline (11% of total women who bought eye shadow, up from 8%) and MAC (7%, up from 4%).

Revlon’s recent growth is primarily driven by its increased popularity among women aged 35-49. The 65+ age group is the most likely by far to buy Avon eye shadow, while women aged between 18 and 24 (a group we recently identified as Australia’s most enthusiastic cosmetics buyers) are especially fond of eye shadow from glam New York brand MAC.

Andrew Price, General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Sales of most cosmetics categories have been relatively static over the last few years, with some even declining. Eye shadow is among the latter group, but amid the downturn, there are several success stories. Brands like Revlon, Maybelline and MAC have gained customers since 2011, while big names like L’Oreal and Covergirl struggle.

“Our data indicates that women who buy eye shadow in a six-month period are between three and four times more likely than the average Aussie woman to purchase mascara, eyeliner/eyebrow pencil, blusher and/or concealer during that same time frame; not to mention more than twice as likely to buy lipstick and/or foundation. Naturally, the corollary also applies: women who buy any of these other cosmetics are more likely to buy eye shadow too.

“Most make-up brands do not offer eye shadow alone: they sell a range of products. Knowing that women buying cosmetics may very well purchase more than one product, brands keen to boost their eye-shadow sales could therefore benefit by encouraging these multiple purchases. Alternatively, they could appeal to the trendy tendencies of eye-shadow buyers, who are dramatically more likely than the average Aussie woman to agree with statements such as ‘I try to look stylish’ and ‘It’s important to look fashionable’.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%