Article, Beauty

The seasonal nature of the lipstick market

The fashion industry does not have exclusivity over the concept of winter and summer collections. The lipstick market also follows the seasons.

Evelyne Redier, chairperson of the Higher Together agency specializing in Market Research, describes the principal purchasing triggers for consumers of this highly symbolic product.

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By Evelyne Redier Chairwoman of the Higher Together agency specializing in Market Research
7 Jan 2021

Lipstick is one of the fundamental pillars of the makeup market with an undeniably symbolic importance for its users. From the tender age of just two or three, little girls imitate the movements of their mothers applying lipstick in the family bathroom mirror. Later – for some as early as nine or ten – they want to have their own gloss or tinted lip balm, or they have their first lipsticks purchased for them in discreet colors, often pink. For older women, and even much older women, lipstick is also the last makeup product that they continue to purchase. The market is therefore particularly important.

A 23-billion-dollar market

The figures of this market, which is extremely dynamic in France, speak for themselves. French women spend nearly 10% of their makeup budget on lipstick, from an annual average of 250 euros per woman exclusively spent on cosmetics. Proportionately, lipstick takes second place, right after foundation . Moreover, a number of women state that they never leave home without first applying lipstick and feel naked without it. Most women possess several lipstick products, with at least one continually kept in her handbag. In 2024, nearly 2.5 billion units should be sold throughout the world for an approximate total of 23 billion dollars.

The seasonal nature of the lipstick market is an integral characteristic of the product, and not just in terms of color. Texture and the final effect greatly influence the choice, which correspond with the clothing and accessories that goes with, the hairstyle, the weather, the trends of the moment or simply her mood. It is often a combination of all these criteria that dictates their choice, which proves – if proof were required – that selecting a lipstick is a very personal decision where spontaneity meets creativity and femininity.

Lipstick: up to 30 % of turnover made at Christmas

In the summertime, the colors are brighter, the textures are lighter, and the glossy effect is more emphasized to flatter tanned skin. The cold of winter brings with it pale skin and chapped lips. Lipstick users therefore prefer more moisture-rich formulas in deeper colors and with richer textures. For the Christmas period, brands present more luminous, ostentatious products in intense colors. The whole environment is festive. Lipsticks take on a multitude of forms; innovations abound. And that’s no coincidence: lipstick brands make up to 30 % of their turnover during this period.

The other high points of the year in terms of lipstick sales are, rather predictably, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Great brands such as Dior, Chanel, Guerlain and Hermès compete for marketing ingenuity to promote their “special offers.” Fashions and trends inspired by bloggers and influencers also have an impact on the market. Consider, for example, the nude trend, which is still visible on Instagram feeds.

The seasonal nature of packaging: the limited-edition trap

Packaging also adapts to these high points: during the festive season, it becomes even more luxurious and elaborate, and the product is particularly shown to its advantage in the aisles and on display units. Even more than during the rest of the year, the product has to stand out through creative, festive packaging that incites consumers to purchase. Limited edition packaging offers brands the opportunity to showcase their new products over a short period to maximize sales, all the more so thanks to higher price positions.

While these limited editions may help reinforce the seductive power of a brand, it is still important for that brand to remain loyal to its image without relying too much on such opportunities. Indeed, the market’s high points are tending to become more frequent: Mother’s Day, Grandmother’s Day, Chinese New Year, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Women’s Day… So, to avoid spreading themselves too thin, it is becoming essential for brands to conceive of their punctual, seasonal campaigns as part of a coherent global annual strategy that will help show their brand image to its advantage in a lasting way.

Different seasonal natures according to each country

It is worth mentioning that this seasonal nature, observed in France and most other European countries, is not necessarily exactly the same in other countries. Products and packaging must therefore address the demands of consumers according to their nationalities and local customs. Certain colors are culturally more or less acceptable: such is the case notably in Japan, where makeup is extremely codified. In other parts of the world, lipstick is essentially chosen for its long-lasting hold, its ability to stand up to heat, or the social image that it projects which also depends on the consumer’s age.

In any case, lipstick maintains an intimate link to the human psychology, acting as an eminently personal distinctive sign that changes with the seasons and her momentary desires.

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