Lipstick sales have taken a hit with people staying indoors and the consumer’s makeup usage behaviour changing in a dramatic way. With masks becoming a must-have accessory and no occasion for socialising, the consumer’s focus appears to have shifted more towards eye makeup from wearing lipsticks. This could be a trend going forward as well because several organisations, in their post-lockdown workplace policies, are making masks mandatory on the office premises.
Looking at this shift in consumer behaviour, colour cosmetics companies are drawing up strategies to push products in eye segments such as eyeliners, mascaras and eyeshadows.
L’Oreal India director (consumer and market insights & media) Kavita Angre told TOI, “Usage of lipsticks has got impacted with a reduction in out-of-home socialising occasions. People are not using lipsticks while working from home. They do wear a lipstick when they have to make an official presentation on a video call where they’ll be visible. We foresee a shift more towards eye makeup.”
A spokesperson from beauty retailer Nykaa said, “It’s interesting to note that the sale of eyeshadows has pushed it as a category from top 5 to top 3.” Industry sources said India has always been an eye market. That’s because eye makeup accounts for approximately 36% of the size of the market, and lip makeup 32%. According to Nykaa, however, lips continue to be a segment leader in makeup.
The colour cosmetics category has performed well during previous recessionary times. Women have a special relationship with their makeup regimen and it plays not just a functional role, but also a strong emotional one. A Hindustan Unilever spokesperson said, “In the immediate term, purchase has slowed down due to the lockdown. Our consumer work indicates they are keen to replenish at the earliest, and we expect a step-up as markets reopen fully.”
On the other hand, with increased stress on hygiene and care, companies expect that consumers would spend more on lip-care products such as lip balms and face creams.
Companies believe the dip in lipstick use is a phase that will soon pass. “Fundamentally, we are social animals. Socialising is not going to die. We will find new ways of socialising in the new normal. Eventually, lipsticks would make a comeback. The fact that lipsticks are mood enhancers still holds good,” said Angre.
The accessibility of a product would, however, be the key, given the slowdown and consumers tightening their fists to conserve cash in these uncertain times.
Industry experts said digital and e-commerce, which are significant for this category, would continue to accelerate. “We are seeing sales reach pre-Covid numbers, which suggest a significant pent-up demand. Skin and hair care sales have seen an increased share of voice through the lockdown, and will be important beauty focuses this year,” said the Nykaa spokesperson.