Consumer Goods

International recognition for fashion and cosmetics

The consumer goods sector, predominately made up of the clothing and fashion; cosmetics and toiletries; and jewellery industries is one of Australia's most exciting and dynamic areas.

Australia has had a reputation for quality surfwear and swimwear, but Australian designers are also making inroads in the world's fashion centre with world-class, cost-competitive designs.

Meanwhile, the cosmetics industry has more than doubled in the last 20 years, with consumers responding to the purity and quality of Australian products – which range from body and hair products, cosmeceuticals, sunscreen and anti-ageing products.

Finally, Australia's jewellery industry covers a diverse range of products, from precious metals and stones to decorative ornaments and costume jewellery. As well as its diamonds, opals and sapphires, Australia is also renowned as one of the major producers of quality pearls.

Clothing and fashion

Australian fashion has a reputation for being progressive and ahead of its time. The Australian lifestyle is reflected in the freshness and originality of the colours, materials and design.

As well as a reputation for quality design and fabric, Australian designers take advantage of seasonal differences to supply northern hemisphere retailers earlier than most other international designers.

Australian designers include Lisa Ho, Collette Dinnigan, sass & bide and Ksubi. Other popular designers include Jayson Brunsdon, Leona Edmiston, Kirrily Johnston, Cheryl Weir, Kit Willow, Toni Maticevski and Camilla and Marc.

Street and urbanwear

Australia is well known for street and urbanwear, producing denim and contemporary casual lines. Many designers working in this area market themselves as wholesale businesses in foreign markets rather than establishing themselves as retail outlets.

Sportswear, swimwear and surfwear

The beach is so much a part of the Australian lifestyle, that many Australian designers have made their mark in surfwear and swimwear. Once the domain of sports labels, such as Speedo, the surfing and swimwear market is now fiercely competitive. Other surf/swimwear brands include Wahine, Funky Trunks and aussieBum.

Three Australian surfwear companies, Quiksilver, Billabong and Rip Curl, are famous worldwide for their boardshorts, T-shirts and wetsuits. They have expanded beyond the beach and now produce practical gear for extreme sports – skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding and golf. Joining them are brands, such as Globe, Running Bare and Team Jackets and Lettermans, which are breaking into overseas markets, ie. Canada and the USA.

Cosmetics and toiletries

Australia has achieved international recognition for its beauty and grooming industry and some 200 Australian companies currently export their products overseas. These include Jurlique, The Natural Source, The Ward Group, Cat Media, Laderma, Lifeforce Pty Ltd, Becca, Bloom, Napoleon Perdis and Aesop.

Australia’s harsh environment means products have to contend with varying climatic conditions, such as intense sun exposure and extreme humidity. As a result, Australia is a highly respected supplier of sun protection and sunless tanning products that are recognised for their adherence to stringent standards as well as their anti-ageing properties.

Recent years have seen growing demand levels for natural products containing vitamins and minerals and consequently there is strong domestic and overseas interest in Australia's natural skincare products, which use local botanical ingredients such as tea tree and eucalyptus.

The rise of 'ethical consumerism' is also influencing demand, as a growing number of consumers take into account the ethical, social and environmental consequences of their purchases.

Key growth areas are hair products, men's grooming products, baby products, dermatological products, aromatherapy, natural products and sun care.

Beauty salons and spas are also a growing trend in Australia and internationally, and Australian companies successfully exporting in this area include Heritage Healers, Lydia Jordane, Janesce, Pelactive, Li’Tya and Simplicite.

For those who want a more scientific approach, many Australian cosmetic products are based on research undertaken by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), including lines produced by Ultraceuticals and Beta Alistine.

Other companies such as Skin Doctors, Mayerling and Clear Skin Care produce dermatologist-based lines.

Many Australian cosmetic companies showcase their products at the annual Cosmoprof trade fairs in Italy and Asia.

(Source: IbisWorld Australia)


Australia has some of the oldest rock formations and over the years, the earth’s natural processes have created a vast range of precious gems and minerals that make Australia unique.

Every year, mines across Australia’s vast and diverse terrain produce magnificent diamonds, sapphires and opals for global markets.


The Argyle deposit in Western Australia’s Kimberley region contains a large proportion of the world's economic diamond resources. It has some of the highest diamond grades in the world and produces nearly twice the diamond output of any other country. The Argyle deposit sells 100 per cent of its product direct to global markets. The best Argyle rough diamonds, including the renowned pink diamonds, are cut and polished at the Argyle Diamonds facility in Perth, Western Australia.


Australia produces around 95 per cent of the world's opals for use in the jewellery industry. The major markets for opals are Japan, USA, Germany, Hong Kong and New Zealand. White or Milky opal is found in South Australia, while Black opal is found in Lightning Ridge, NSW, and Boulder opal is found in Queensland.


Australia is a major producer of quality sapphires and supplies a wide range of sizes to global markets. Commercial blue stone is mainly sold under contract for export to Thailand for processing, which includes heat treatment and cutting. The smaller size stone is cut into calibrated sizes for use in the mass jewellery market. The best quality sapphires are supplied mainly to niche markets in Europe and the US, as well as the domestic jewellery trade and tourist market.


Australia is the world’s largest producer of white South Sea pearls – cultured pearls of more than 10mm in diameter that have been grown in the famous gold or silver-lip pearl oyster Pinctada Maxima. Australian white South Sea pearls have an average diameter of 12-14mm but may reach an exceptional 20mm. Australia’s South Sea cultured pearl industry also produces half-pearls and a range of designer-ready ‘keshi’ pearls.

(Source: IBISWorld )

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Cosmetics and toiletries