What is the effect of the lipstick?
The lipstick effect is when consumers still spend money on little indulgences for self improvement in recessions or economic downturns. Some examples we are seeing in the Australian market are: embarrassing Tattoo removal Gold Coast, hair removal, botox, cosmetics, gym equipment in place of gym memberships due to covid19 restrictions. The theory goes these self improvement purchases which tend to be smaller in value replace the consumer high given by larger purchases like new vehicles, but most also find the cash to be purchased for small and luxurious items such as premium lipstick. For this reason, even during economic downturns, businesses that profit from the lipstick effect are more resilient.
Video Description: So Called Lipstick Effect Report where people spend more on beauty during economic recessions and depressions source: Channel 10
How Economic Booms and Busts effects the importance of presentation
Sales statistics of L’Oreal, one of the leading cosmetics firms in the world, showed that the rest of the economy suffered record sales declines in 2008, with sales growth of 5.3 percent. In Australia, Laser Clinics, Teeth Whitening, Skin Beauty clinics, Gym equipment sales are reporting record increases in sales and bookings.
The European personal products index is an excellent proxy for the global cosmetics sector because it is dominated by L’Oréal and Beiersdorf. So far in the downturn, this index has already outperformed the broader market by 45%.
In sharp contrast, since the start of the covid lockdowns beauty retailer Mecca was forced to shutter its one hundred retail stores across Australia and New Zealand. A similar trend has been seen for Adore Beauty retailer reporting a 24% drop in sales. So perhaps the lipstick effect has skipped the actual sellers of lipstick downunder in favour of other types of services with an employment bent. Also, online stores especially aggregator online stores like Amazon are experiencing a boom. Amazon sales in the U.S. tracked by McKinsey in the four weeks up to April 11 showed “lip care and color” saw the steepest decline in retail sales of any segment, with sales falling 15% and prices falling 28%.
Now, a series of psychological studies for the first time has shown that while harder economic times reduce women ‘s desire for goods that improve their attractiveness, they also consistently increase the desire of women.
Psychologists claim that this ‘lipstick effect’ primarily works below men’s and women ‘s consciousness and thus involves exact experiments to report it. The findings indicate that the ability of women to attract people with wealth drives this phenomenon.
The study’s writers, Sarah Hill, Christopher Rodeheffer, Vladas Griskevicius, Kristina Durante and Andrew Edward White argue that our human ancestors have frequently passed through periods of abundance and famine over evolutionary history. This has led us genetically to prioritise mate finding when times are rough and the passing on of our genes becomes a priority in tougher environments.
In 2009, at the height of the last economic crisis, sales declined nearly 10%, according to research group NPD
For starters, wars are known for periods of great romance.
According to evolutionary theory, women’s reproductive success through history depends on their ability to obtain a partner who will invest money in themselves and their offspring. Economic recession could signal that financially stable men are becoming scarcer, so that women in financially harder times can compete more intensely for richer men according to evolutionary theory. This theory could explain why laser tattoo removal has become so popular, as men and women compete for better jobs or seek to remove obstacles to getting hired for a job.
It analysed monthly variations in U.S. unemployment over the past 20 years and found that people have spent smaller portions of their monthly spending budgets on e-mails or recreational / hobby items if unemployment is increased. However, relative expenditure on personal care and beauty products has also increased.
But were these men or women who bought cosmetics or personal care products? The Journal of Personalities and Social Psychology, which was published in another section of this study when men read an article on the recent economic crisis, created less wishes to buy consumer goods in general. When women read the same magazine article on a recession, their willingness to buy items that could improve beauty like lipstick increased, compared to reading an article on modern architecture, unlike men.
In another segment of the experiments, unmarried graduates were inspired by the slideshow “New Economics of the 21st Century: A Harsh and Uncertain Environment” to focus on the current situation in the U.S. economy, including job lines, house foreclosure indicators, and empty office buildings. Under comparison conditions, participants saw a slideshow, Making the Grade: No Longer A Walk in the Park. This slideshow portrayed students who aspire to fulfil the high academic standards set by university administrators.
As forecasted, the recession slideshow led women to report that they want members of the other sex to see them as sweet, that it is important to look good and to report a lot more about how beautiful they look. Thus, economic crisis reminders women who look more physically attractive to men.
But does the “lipstick effect” not represent costly indulgences for women in recessions who are attracted to cheap pleasures such as lipsticks? If women assume that a costly luxury product will make them more attractive to men, recession should continue to increase the wish of women for that product (according to evolutionary theory).
In this regard, the psychologists reminded women of the recession and assessed their interest in obtaining goods that improve luxury “attractiveness” (e.g. designer jeans) and in two groups of cheap control products: low cost indulgences that do not increase attractiveness (e.g. coffee) and discounts on advertised attractiveness-promotion products ( e.g. Walmart jeans).
Psychologists from the Texas Christian University, the University of Minnesota, San Antonio University of Texas and Arizona State University have come to the conclusion that the ‘lipstick effect’ is the search for products which are more successful to improve attractiveness even though they cost more.
The “lipstick effect” is another hypothesis that clearly represents increased financial desperation in a recession. Since resources, historic at least, appear to be dominated by men, rational experimental psychologists should promote economic recessions to encourage women to attract wealthy co-workers primarily as a means of financial support.
From their studies, psychologists have found that the ‘lipstick effect’ is not primarily motivated by disadvantaged women with little access to their own wealth – it applied powerfully to all women, whatever their own financial problems. In other words, better women were nevertheless susceptible to the “lipstick” effect. This may suggest that this remarkable effect occurs under conscious consciousness and is genetically hard-linked in the mind because of evolutionary history.
This fits into the idea that evolution has added reflexive prioritisation to our genes and brains in harder times, as it does not take too long to do so. Greater “target immediacy,” coupled with a lower access to “high-quality” (i.e. richer) partners, leads to even more fierce mate pulls in women in recessionary times.
The psychologists hypothesised that men would compete more to obtain these resources if economic recessions increase women’s premium access to resources by men.
For example, a severe economic environment might lead more affluent men, especially those looking for romantic partners, to make their wealth more noticeable at the time. Another possibility is that conditions in recession could lead men who are unable to keep on working, more likely to lie, steal or rob as a means of acquiring resources.
The authors also speculate that recession might also contribute to the desire of women to take chances of beauty enhancement (e.g. intense diet, tanning, laser skin treatments or cosmetic surgery). It might also inspire more violence towards other women.
Photo Source: Eraze.com.au
This study indicates some previously unforeseen effects on women of recessions. They may have a negative effect on the wellbeing of women and the nature and longevity of their friendships with women.
Many women cheer up with a treat during stressful times and one of the cheapest ways remains to buy lipstick. When applied, smiling at the reflection, women are sent away with a spring in their step into a harder world.
The “lipstick effect” could therefore only be a natural feminine instinct toward the depressing effect of the recession.
But, while the ‘lipstick effect’ doesn’t mean that women need to find a rich man in difficult times, given the burden on the household bag, when families struggle with the requisite food and rental expenses, many women may mask the fact that they too buy such fabulous products as cosmetics – hiding the truth from them.
While the “lipstick effect” applies theoretically to all cosmetics or anything that enhances the appeal of women, the lipstick itself may be especially “primary,” special in its ability to transform its appearance instantly and dramatiquement.
Take a 34-year-old unmarried teacher as an example. Melissa McQueeney firmly refuses to avoid purchasing lipstick, amid rising bills and economic recession. As she strides with a fresh lip gloss to the cash register, she is quoted as stating: “I didn’t even try it. I just sprinkle.”
I am not suggesting that the coronavirus has the same effect: from what I know, the virus does not value financial protection!
However, online spending is a ‘treatment reflex’ and I am sure that we will see a spike in such transactions. Life may be too unpredictable to book your cabin cruises for 2021, but you can never avoid buying new music, summer clothing maybe, painting your toenails in a new colour, investing in flip flops to reveal them when sunshine starts emerging.
- Boosting Beauty in an Economic Decline: Mating, Spending, and the Lipstick Effect. Hill, Sarah E.; Rodeheffer, Christopher D.; Griskevicius, Vladas ; Durante, Kristina ; White, Andrew Edward. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2012, Vol.103(2), pp.275-291
- Lipstick effect:First noted by journalists in 2001 Nelson, E. (2001, November 26). Rising lipstick sales may mean pouting economy. The Wall Street Journal, p. B1.