FACE | Mecca’s price cuts vs. Sephora

mecca price drop

So Mecca Cosmetica have lowered their prices across stores in New Zealand and Australia in light of Sephora opening stores in Australia next year. Is this good news? Of course. Will this make shopping here finally more viable than buying online? Possibly not. I’ve mocked up a few hypothetical Sephora orders to calculate whether it’s worth it.

Hypothetical shopping list one contains a combination of makeup and hair products. This is the type of order I am most likely to make online from Sephora: a few essentials, some treats and some heavy things, none of which I’d make an order for individually. I made sure to choose things that are available at both Sephora and Mecca Cosmetica.

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 1.38.46 pm

This order adds up to $208 USD, which at the time of writing is $247.52 NZD. In addition, an order this size costs approximately $44 NZD to send to New Zealand through Youshop (trust me, I’ve done this before).

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 1.51.40 pm

Total for hypothetical shopping list one from Sephora: $291.52 NZD

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Total for hypothetical shopping list one from Mecca Cosmetica: $329 NZD

It’s not a huge difference, but $37.48 is also not negligible. You could (almost) get another bottle of shampoo for that – but then, the shampoo will make the box heavier, so you may end up spending more on shipping.

Let’s try with a smaller, lighter order. Hypothetical shopping list two contains some smaller items, which will fit in the smallest box Sephora sends orders in, and will only cost the minimum Youshop fee.

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 2.07.25 pm

$118 USD comes to $140.42 NZD, plus $17.25 NZD for the minimum Youshop charge.

Total for hypothetical shopping list two from Sephora: $157.67 NZD

And from Mecca?

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 2.09.42 pm

Total for hypothetical shopping list two from Mecca Cosmetica: $185 NZD

There’s not so much of a difference this time – only $27.33 NZD.

So what should we conclude from this? To be honest, I have always shopped at both Sephora and Mecca in combination. The price drop will make me more likely to shop at Mecca for impulse buys, and things I want in a hurry. I will always go to Mecca for foundation and concealer, as it’s important to get the right match. I’m also fundamentally opposed to going in to Mecca, getting matched, then buying the same thing online for cheaper. It’s shitty to take advantage of the premium service they offer there, as well as deny their (always excellent and friendly) staff the commission they deserve.

I’ll continue to shop at Sephora for brands and products that are exclusive to the store, and to take advantage of discounts and free gifts when they’re available. It’s a little hard to evaluate this change from New Zealand, because Sephora stores won’t be opening here any time soon. Maybe Sephora Australia will ship here, though? We can dream!

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  • Lena

    I’ve never actually shopped at Mecca! Most of the things I’ve ordered from Sephora have been from brands at Farmers or Smith and Caughey who aren’t dropping prices, or Sephora-exclusive brands. Knowing about this does make me more inclined to go into Mecca now – good strategy by them!

    • Have you never even been to Mecca? It’s so nice there and I love getting the chance to see everything irl, especially skincare where you can really feel the texture of things!

      • Lena

        I’ve gone in for a look but never bought anything. Everything looked so far out of my price range and it didn’t feel that welcoming to me. The ones in Auckland are nowhere near where I live or shop so I probably haven’t been in for like a year.

  • I’ve mostly window shopped and bought gifts at Mecca, never anything for me though 😮 I must remedy this! How exciting about the price drop! The staff are always so lovely there.

    • The Wellington Mecca staff are all so great, right!

  • Sophie ♥

    The price drop makes me so happy! Beauty purchases will be much less depressing at Mecca now. I’m like you-if I run out of something like concealer, skincare, perhaps even haircare I’ll go to Mecca rather than wait a week+ for it to ship for overseas. Sephora will always be my go-to though for brands that we can’t get in NZ (or at Mecca) but I’ll still shop at Mecca. I love the store+the staff too much!

    Sophie | Nana Wintour

    • I really like being able to try out the texture of things, especially skincare, at Mecca too.

  • Zoe

    Sephora Australia shipping to NZ would be THE DREAM

    • It would make sense if they did… but when did anything about the beauty industry ever make sense?

  • Nishu

    Love the thorough analysis! I’ve never bought anything and Sephora …! Hard to believe now! But i’m still pleased with the price reduction as NARS sheer glow has been giving me sleepless nights of late!

    • Thanks Nishu! Sleepless nights really can’t be good…

  • Georgia Lowry

    Awesome article!! You have definitely summed everything up perfectly. I agree with you, with turning to Mecca for Impulse buys but then sticking to Sephora for brands that are exclusive to them.

  • Elese

    This post came up in my newsfeed and I was like “YES.” I had been wondering for a wee while! Thank you for doing the research 🙂

    • Yay I’m glad it was helpful!

  • Ash

    This is awesome thanks Morgan 🙂

  • Cjoely

    Thanks so much this was super helpful!! Do Sephora always try and box all the items together? Because I know Youshop charges per box

    • You’re welcome! Sephora have always shipped in one box for me and I’ve ordered there a bunch of times, so no need to worry!

  • Charli Marie

    Awesome post Morgan! Thank you for doing the maths. I’ve always been scared off by high-end makeup prices in NZ, and didn’t want to be shitty and get matched then buy online, so I don’t own much high-end makeup at all. this post makes me less afraid of the prices tho, think I’m going to invest in my first bottle of Nars sheer glow next payday!

    • Thanks Charli! Definitely go in to Mecca in Kirks, all the girls are lovely there. That’s one of the things I love about luxury cosmetics: the luxury service too

  • jamie-lee

    So I was talking to the girl at Mecca about this (probably the HUGEST no-no but it happened so…) yesterday when I was picking up a few things. She seemed to think it was better buying it in Australia. Given that the AU prices are lower than the NZ ones, and the only way to buy here is by using the Hop Shop Go service that buys for you (at least in my experience Shipito didn’t work?), I think it’s cheaper in Australia to just buy from Mecca.

    I found it such a hassle the time I did buy from Sephora (mostly so I could get that weird pink scrubby thing you have and their waterproof MU remover) that I was put off completely – I kind of like the inshore experience and then buying it at the counter, with the ability to go home and play straight away. But that’s just me.

    Love that you did the break downs though – I wouldn’t have had the patience!


    • Yeah I did the maths for Arna, who lives in Melbourne, and the cost is cheaper in Australia than NZ but still a little more than online. But Sephora is opening in Sydney at the end of the year, I think? So you’re lucky!

      • jamie-lee

        Yeah it opens in early December I think it is, just in time for Christmas. The girl at Mecca told me it’s the Asian Sephora not the US one although I didn’t know there was a difference…..

  • So much cheaper now that they have dropped their price! I am so looking forward to collecting all the shades for Hourglass Opaque Liquid Lipstick! LOVE that stuff x

  • This comparison is so helpful, thanks Morgan! I have a question about the commission bit though – say I’m helped by employee A about X product at Mecca/MAC, she gives me a sample or applies it on me or whatever. When I return to the same store to actually purchase the product BUT I’m helped by employee B, have I inadvertently allowed B to ‘steal’ A’s commission?

    • I guess so, although it’s not as if staff on a counter are really competing against each other. I try to acknowledge when someone has given me really good service by mentioning it to them/their manager/on social media, so at least they can get some credit for their efforts.

      • Thanks! I’ve really never considered it before – I’ve always tested in store, then purchased online (usually because I can find the item for cheaper online)