Why We Still Shell out for Lipstick During Tough Times

By claire |

superstock_1491r-1038649In 2008, Americans spent $11 billion on self-help and self-improvement materials, including books,CDs and personal coaching.

Newsflash: We’re in a recession! 

So why are people still paying for products that aren’t the bare essentials? Because, in addition to selling self-improvement, these motivational materials are selling something that’s been missing from the global market as of late: HOPE. 

“[The gurus] aren’t selling you the features–they’re selling the image,” says Steve Salerno, author of Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless. “Whatever they think you’re deficient in, they’re selling the solution.  (Source: “What People are Still Willing to Pay For”, by Melanie Lindner, Forbes)

During dismal times, consumers are likely to keep buying products that get them through their day, the little luxuries that make us all feel a bit better. We turn to these “touchstones of emotion” that are with us through good times and bad.


Enter lipstick.

In a recent London Survey, four out of every ten respondents said, although they felt the need to cutback in 2009, they would rather scrimp on gas and electricity than their favorite beauty products. (Interestingly enough, Vaseline Lip Balm was the number one product British women can’t live without.) On our side of the pond, lipstick sales have historically shown a marked increase during times of economic unrest, and nearly doubled after the 9/11 attacks.

The bottom line: we really can’t live without lipstick.

What other products or services will you pinch pennies for?







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