Why can’t you buy Austrian cosmetics in Vienna?

I have recently visited beautiful Vienna. Enchanted by the atmosphere and architecture of its centre, I spent several days looking for Austrian cosmetics in different shops. I have visited both: drugstores and pharmacies and I was becoming more and more astonished with each visit. It occured that is much easier to buy Polish cosmetics in Vienna than any Austrian ones.

Why? In one of the pharmacies I was told that French and German cosmetics are the best, so they have plenty of them in their offer. In another pharmacy, the staff asked each other if specific brands were Austrian or German (it turned out that they didn’t know). And when I finally heard that there was an Austrian brand like Styx, it turned out that I could only get their cosmetics “on demand” because “so few consumers are interested in them that it’s not worth having them in stock”. I didn’t manage to buy them of course.

At the end of my stay, I have found the only shop (out of 20) with Austrian cosmetics of “Susan Kaufmann” and “Blubonbon” on the shelves.

I was wondering about the common lack of awareness of  cosmetics brands in Austria. Even drugstore staff don’t know if they have Austrian products or not. Apparently, they don’t believe in their native industry, since they tell tourists that French and German brands are better. And indeed, reports show that the Austrian cosmetics market has been dominated by international corporations such as L’oreal, Procter & Gamble and Beiersdorf. I have also noticed the lack of economic patriotism. Austrians don’t use Austrian cosmetics. It’s not logical because as we all know, it’s not the country of origin that determines the quality of a cosmetic product but its composition, right?

A conclusion? The cosmetics market in Austria has a completely different structure than the Polish one. Domestic brands have a weak position and even weaker distribution. And those few companies that are trying to change this, have created brands in the natural cosmetics segment and are focused on exporting. As it is a strong trend, a segment that is currently growing faster than the others, they probably are doing the right thing (I have read that Styx has been very popular in Russia).

If you want to see my photos from Vienna, have a look at my Instagram!