The lipstick index, coined by Estée Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder, is a good indicator of the state of an economy. If the sales were up, it meant people indulged in small luxuries, and the economy was in the doldrums. But in corona times, the lipstick index is down, and the economy is still in the dumps.
The reason is that consumer sentiment is still down, and spending in any kind of makeup would be counted as a luxury, especially as masks have been made amatory in almost all countries due to the pandemic.
The arrivals of masks, which cover nearly 60 to 70 percent of the face, is a threat to cosmetic brands. Also, work from home is another deterrent to getting all made up. People are more relaxed at home, and a simple brush up is more than enough to see you through even on a video call.
From April to June, lipstick sales, including lip balms, colors, pencils, all were down 59 percent compared to a year ago, reports market research firm Numerator.
For the three-month period ending June 14, sales of lip products, including lip color, lip stain, and lipstick, were down 59 percent compared with the year-earlier period, according to market research firm Numerator. A spokesman notes that fewer people are going to work or leaving their homes due to the coronavirus.
Major brands like L’Oreal, Maybelline, Lakme, MAC, Avon, Estee Lauder, etc. are all in trouble. Lipsticks, concealers, primers, foundation, creams, blushons, highlights all related to enhancing the face are in trouble. Masks and all these products do not go hand-in-hand.
“If you're wearing a mask, it’s going to rub off pretty much on anything you’ve got—foundation, lipstick,” says Sarah Jindal, associate director of global beauty and personal care at Mintel, noting that the beauty category across the board has taken a hit in recent months. “No one can see half of your face anyway.
Jindal says her team is talking more about the “mask effect rather than the lipstick effect.” This is meant to measure brand sales in pandemic times and find which categories are doing well.
They found that skincare, nail care, and hair care are categories that are doing well as consumers are turning to more DIY treatments at home.
This indicator looks at how mask wearing is affecting brand sales and marketing of beauty and skincare products. She says categories such as skincare, nail care and hair care are all on the rise as consumers turn to do-it-yourself treatments at home.
Another category that may take a hit is eyewear. Trendy eyewear and frames that enhance rather than cover will be the order of the day.
One thing marketers have to remember that masks are here to say and need to be a part of the beauty routine. Social media influencers have caught on fast, and there are numerous tutorials online on how to apply makeup with a mask on. Obviously, eyes have become a big part of this exercise. Some have got creative and are advising on how to put makeup under a mask. Toning cleaning, hydrating, and moisturizing are still a significant part of the routine.
Eye makeup, smudge-proof products are the focus of brands now. “We’ve seen a pivot in how some of the brands are marketing their products,” says Jindal. “As people start going back to work, they’re going to want to put on makeup eventually and take the mask off—do they want to touch their face after the subway and get to the office?—they’re thinking about that sort of thing.”
Till a vaccine comes to the market and humankind gets immunized, masks are a part of our daily wear. Women have been making a statement throughout the ages covered in hijab, or ghunghut (full-face cover). It is all about style and adaptation. Soon masks will be a style statement with makeup brands advertising with model’s face half covered up. Even in half measures, style always wins.