Marketing to Women: Nail Polish Explosion

January 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

OPI Splash
Okay, we are the Lipstick Economy, but a little girly news about nail polish won’t hurt anyone.  While expanding lipstick sales have been traditionally linked with recessionary periods, nail polish is the new indicator for the 21st Century. According to WWD, polish sales reached $768 million in 2012 in the U.S., which is a gain of 32% over 2011.  WWD reports on a survey that claims that 33% of women in the States have at least 25 bottles of polish in their homes. 

Why the booming sales?  I think we all know why.  There are all the colors of the rainbow now available in polish. Gel nails are all the rage and have recently been introduced as home kits.  Nail art and decals are part of the personal nail expression.  And polishes come in all types of finishes – cracked, sand, matte, high gloss and more.

Nail polish is all about personal expression.  And it fits all sizes and ages.  It’s also an inexpensive way to follow trends without too much risk.  I often see grandmothers, daughters and granddaughters all in a nail salon together discussing the merits of Cajun Shrimp or My Chihuahua Bites.  Oh, and the names are part of the experience.  It’s cheap fun that lifts your spirits.

OPI always has wacky names and seasonal destination collections that give you and your toes a quick vacation just by polishing.  Now that’s a group that understands its brand and its personality.  The names are so fun that I hear women talking about them all the time and talking about their favorites.  Names like Aphrodite’s Pink Nightie and Lincoln Park After Dark.

Evidently nail art has been big in hipster places like Japan for quite a while.  Here in the United States, it’s a small luxury with a big return.  After all, we can only see our lipstick when we look in a mirror or see the smudge on our coffee mug, but we see our hands all the time.

Fast Company reports that women are not the only ones that want a little fun.  Seems men are getting into the nail obsession.  Josh Espley is CEO of Blakk Cosmetics, whose first product,Alphanail, is being billed as “war paint for your fingernails.” (It’s nail polish, but for dudes.)



Marketing to Women: Is Nail Polish the New Economic Index?

August 24, 2011 § 2 Comments

As I sit here pondering the relative merits of having green nail polish on my nails, I happened across this interesting new tidbit of information from our Great Recession.  It seems that nail polish sales soared in 2010, up 13.7 percent over the prior year.  Could it be that the Lipstick Index has become the Nail Polish Index?

In 2009, in the midst of the recession, lipstick sales actually declined, while nail polish sales soared.  Why is that?  Some beauty experts point to a multitude of new product launches, a shift from salon visits to at-home applications and the explosion of new colors on the scene.  And it seems that we are buying more of our beauty products in mass merchants, discount stores and through direct sales.  Fashion houses have made nail polish couture as well, with knock-offs available at your local Walgreen’s.

Take Katie Dunham, a millennial fashionista, as an example.  She has so many bargain nail polishes in every color from purple to green, she needed a professional lucite display to hold them all.  A $5 polish is a quick way to boost your spirits and add some fun to outfit.

A competitive jobs market also seems to have brought the need for a professional appearance back into focus.  Having well-groomed nails plays a role in projecting a positive image to others.  A London study showed three-quarters of women and half of men believe chipped or bitten nails create a bad overall impression.

A historical note on nail polish:  It was developed during the Great Depression when women would only wear a faint, translucent pink polish in a “moon manicure” that left the tips of your nail and the nail “moon” unpolished while the middle had a bit of glimmer.  Fast forward a couple of years and the Washing Post reported “When the depression struck America, the women’s finger-nails were the first things to go in the red.”

What’s the marketing message?  Innovation (think green, yellow, blue and crackled polish), low prices and little luxuries that lift our spirits are more resilient in times of economic downturns.  Turns out, we like our lipsticks in pinks and reds, not offering the chance to expand the category.  Also, it seems that Revlon went out on limb and spent his entire advertising budget ($335.36) for an ad in The New Yorker to boost sales for his fledgling product.  New products need an appropriate media push to succeed.

What are some of the new colors for Fall 2011:  Sapphire, copper, grey and iridescent green!

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