Marketing to Moms: The Lipstick Effect of the Recession

August 27, 2009 § Leave a comment

You know, sometimes a little lipstick just makes things a little better.

According to Pam Danziger of Unity Marketing, the ‘lipstick effect’ was a concept popularized by Leonard Lauder, chairman of Estee Lauder, who states that during times of economic uncertainty, women will splurge on affordable luxuries such as lipstick as a substitute for more expensive items like clothing and jewelry.

The concept was first noticed during the Great Depression of 1929-1933 when the country saw an increase in cosmetic sales, especially lipstick, while industrial production was cut in half.

Lipstick just cheers you up. Why lipstick over other cosmetics?  Color cosmetic sales were up 3.6% in the fourth quarter 2008, while fragrance sales fell.  The reason is that fragrance is for someone else, but lipstick is something we can see in the mirror.  It gives us a lift and makes us feel good about ourselves. More from Unity Marketing –

“With the ‘lipstick effect’ in full force throughout 2008, six of the top ten fastest growing luxuries purchased by affluent consumers for their personal use and enjoyment were in the beauty products space, as measured by the average amount spent on their purchases.  That includes the fastest growing product of all:  face care, cleansers, toners and moisturizers, which posted growth of 34 percent in the share of affluent consumer’s average spending from 2007 to 2008.”

But it seems that today’s little luxuries go deeper – it’s important to look younger and fresher.  First impressions still matter so for those job hunting, or just trying to keep their business going, it’s time to put on a happy face.

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