Move over GNP, GDP, and even Consumer Price Index! All I need is the lipstick sales of the Estee Lauder Group of Companies, and I shall tell you what the economy’s health is, right here, right now!
Oops, I was just plain kidding. But really, I’m not absolutely joking about it – because from an article I read last week from the New York Times, there is indeed a relationship between lipstick sales and an economy’s health – and it’s inversely related. Beauty companies have noticed that lipstick ( or lipwear – like gloss and lacquers for that matter ) sales had skyrocketed during economic downturns.
Quoting from the article to illustrate a point,
After the terrorist attacks of 2001 deflated the economy, Mr. Lauder noticed that his company was selling more lipstick than usual. He hypothesized that lipstick purchases are a way to gauge the economy. When itâ€™s shaky, he said, sales increase as women boost their mood with inexpensive lipstick purchases instead of $500 slingbacks.
The article says lipwear ( let’s group together lipstick, gloss, and lacquers ) just might be inferior goods that are bought instead of the first choices of goods that women prefer. But excuse me, lipwear are nowhere near inferior! MAC, Elizabeth Arden, and Chanel are certainly NOT inferior Hahaha! Kidding aside, “inferior goods” in the Economic sense does not refer to its quality,
In consumer theory, an inferior good is a good that decreases in demand when the consumers income rises, unlike normal goods, for which the opposite is observed. Inferiority, in this sense, is an observable fact relating to affordability rather than a statement about the quality of the good. – source : wikipedia.org
“Inferior” might not be the perfect word to use for lipwear, but by calling it “small indulgences”, because although they look more affordable than the normal Manolo slingbacks, its demand does not decrease as income rises.
To illustrate another point, this was a YM exchange between me and a fashion blogger a night before an event which needed me to dress up,
Sophie : Ohh, I have nothing to wear!
Sasha : Don’t worry, just pull off a great makeup look.
See? Sometimes, great makeup looks can compensate for a deficient wardrobe. Haha!
Would this theory hold true? As an Economics graduate, this idea has been fairly new to me, but there is an area in Microeconomics that studies consumer behavior called Consumer Theory, on how we behave on certain situations. The billion-dollar beauty industry has been booming for quite sometime and it will, for sure, in the next few decades, ( how about forever, and ever? ) and I know that even recessions can’t stop women from buying beauty products. Beauty, in my opinion, is a constant need. I also have observed that the very much high priced luxury goods are mostly skin care and anti-aging products – lipwear have been mostly reasonably priced, at least! And well, they give instant results!
I would have to say that with this article written with the United States as a setting, we might ask, would it be applicable in other countries, like mine? Popular lipsticks here are a variety, from the consumer product Maybelline, priced at around 300 bucks ( around $7.50 ), to a mid-to-high end cult favorite MAC Cosmetics, that are priced at around 850php to a little bit above a thousand bucks ( something from $20 and above ), and even the luxury brand Lancome. On the other hand, apparel here are also very affordable, with the shopping capital of Asia, Bangkok, being just nearby. There are dresses priced as low as $10!
So, I have a thought for all of you :
Would you rather be caught wearing the same, bold-printed, distinct dress twice ( or thrice, let’s be more forgiving ) with the same crowd, than be caught wearing the same shade of lipstick twice, or thrice?
The answer would be obviously, one flattering shade of lipstick would be more worth it to buy given the same price of both the dress and the lipstick, because aside from fashion, a beautiful made up look for a party is also a must, and I must say that of all the items in my makeup kit, aside from my oil control powder, a look is never, ever complete without the finishing touch of a beautiful shade of lipstick, sometimes topped with a luscious, megawatt shine layer of lipgloss. With the most flattering shade on you, you get to feel great all throughout, all confident, ready to smile without any insecurities. Gosh, take a look at the classic red lipstick. I bet that more than one pair of eyes would stop and look at you as you sport such vampy shade on your puckers. Such power, very much like a stoplight!
So, even though the relationship between lipstick ( or lipwear ) sales and the health of the economy has been remained unproven ( we need alot lot of data to regress haha! ), it’s quite interesting to think of human behavior when things go wrong – self esteem is first to be salvaged, no matter what, a happy moment is a must-have in one’s life that even we would splurge in a little indulgence such as a lipstick to bring some feel-good vibes that would keep us going.
I know, I didn’t have the heart to shop for clothes a few weeks ago but I just couldn’t resist to get a tube of MAC Fafi in Squeeze Me Up. I’ve been using it ever since and I just love the way it looks on me! I’ve found the perfect red that I’m going to treasure together with my MAC lipstick Back to Del Rio!
So, have you been splurging on lipstick lately? What shade?