There has long been a theory that lipstick sales are impervious to economic downturns. The phenomenon in which sales of lipstick actually accelerate during bad times as women will console themselves with small luxuries was actually identified by former Chairman, Leonard Lauder. At least this held true for the recessions of the early 90’s and 2001-2002. According to Ad Age, however, something has gone wrong with this theory this time around.
Cosmetic sales are being hit hard. Overall makeup sales were down 5% in December from a year ago. With lip treatments dragging down the whole category. Women are not abandoning makeup altogether, no fear, but they are buying a little differently. We are willing to pay a little more for the staples like foundation, but are cutting corners it seems when it comes to color which includes lip and eye. Meanwhile, skin care product sales are booming.
Color Cosmetics Overall -2.2%
Facial Cosmetics – 4.4%
Lip Cosmetics – 6.8%
Lipstick – 1.9%
Gloss – 10.9%
*sales growth for 2007 fourth quarter measured by Information Resources Inc.