Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Lipstick Indicates Economic Recession?

November 15th, 2008 by


At a time when the economy is slowing down it offers an opportunity to validate some of the quirky economic theories like Lipstick Indicator. Do lipstick sell well when the economic depression deepens? Google trends answers “Yes”.

3032269335 f3d1fc17bc Lipstick Indicates Economic Recession?

Estée Lauder Chairman Leonard Lauder reportedly coined the phrase “lipstick index” after observing sales surges during 9/11 downturns. Why? People reach for affordable luxuries to feel better. The New York Times notes that in the last few months, lipstick sales have shot up 40% . Even in Indian markets lipstick sales are growing steadily at 20 % & in the case of luxury brands that have a smaller base, extending even into the triple digits.

“Women always want to look beautiful, and what’s the easiest thing to buy? Lipstick. A tube of lipstick for $14.50 as compared to a shirt for $70,” says Jennifer Barnett of Origins.

Here is quick validation of other economic signs :

  • When the economy fails, we booze more. Google trend answers ‘No’ .

    “We drink all the time! What changes is where we drink. We drink at home more and go out less “, says Marcia Mogelonsky, senior analyst at Mintel International.

  • Skirt length theory or When times are good, women’s skirts get shorter; when times are bad, hemlines fall. The idea behind this theoretical trend is that people are carefree during booms and cautious during busts. Google trends again answers ‘No’ – as the search volume for ‘long skirt’ , ‘short skirt’ & ‘mini skirt’ bears no distinct seasonality pattern with recession .

Nothing cures the hangover from a failing banks bailout and rising unemployment rates like a shiny new lipstick.

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4 Responses

  1. Stoicho Says:

    I guess if you use “lipstck -pig” you will see quite different trend.

    http://www.google.com/trends?q=lipstick%2C+lipstick+-pig&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

  2. Jeremy Says:

    Yup, I agree this trend is one to take to the bank… It is the little things that count.

    A South African Designer The Wren wrote about it here. http://thewrendesign.com/2008/10/24/1264/

  3. Robert Says:

    Amazing Article. I never thought that Lipstick can be compared to economic recession. But this has given a new perspective.

  4. ‘Dark Knight’ Piracy Rise Indicates Recession ? | Says:

    [...] effect permeates the culture . Growth in ‘Dark Knight’ piracy perhaps like ‘lipstick sales‘ , is another indicator of recession . Sphere: Related Content 3 [...]

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