It’s the eye, not the lip anymore

Bangalore Business Fashion Lifestyle

The cosmetic industry’s post-Covid slump continues, although there is a shift in customers’ attitudes.

In 2020, India’s lip makeup market sales declined by 2.18 percent. Majority of the cosmetic brands in India have recorded losses. The Body Shop reported their net income in negative figures in 2020 which was Rs. 650.2 million. Sugar cosmetics recorded a total loss of Rs. 28.2 crore and for online cosmetic store Purplle the losses amounted to Rs. 24.92 crore.

The global health issue is having an impact on the cosmetics industry, which is undergoing a rapid shift. A multi-national cosmetics brand in Jayanagar, Bengaluru, is losing Rs. 1, 00,000 each month, due to a drop in cosmetic sales, particularly in lip makeup. The brand’s lip makeup ranges from Rs. 250 to Rs. 1250. Taskiya, sales representative at  the brand’s shop in Jayanagar, added that they are not getting customers for lipsticks.

“If we approach customers who are in the store to purchase other products and try to sell them cosmetics, they respond by saying that they don’t need lipstick or cosmetics because they are wearing masks,” said Taskiya.

The eye category makeup can be sold easily while lipsticks, lip-glosses and lip balms are hard to sell, she added. Taskiya herself has stopped using lipstick because it stains her mask and makes her feel uncomfortable during the day.

The eye category makeup can be sold easily while lipsticks, lip-glosses and lip balms are hard to sell, she added. Taskiya herself has stopped using lipstick because it stains her mask and makes her feel uncomfortable during the day.

“Lipstick under my mask makes me uncomfortable and my sister who was fond of lipsticks has stopped buying them due to the mask effect,” said Abhinaya, a resident of Jayanagar Bengaluru.

When the economy declines, lipstick sales increase according to Leonard Lauder, founder of the Estee Lauder cosmetics company. Experts use the “lipstick index” to measure how women spent money during difficult times. Because of masks, the coronavirus has flipped the lipstick index.

Suprita K, a 22-year-old make-up enthusiast, has purchased approximately six eye shadow palettes and only two lipsticks since Covid. Before the outbreak, she stated she was a great lipstick fan who used to buy around two to three lipsticks per month and only two eye shadow palettes.

Kavita, from Kumar Stores in Chickpet said that the current trend is towards highlighters and facial paints. Customers also appreciate the eye category and eye make-up because of the masks.

They have a large range of lip make-up from over 20 different brands, and are only able to sell about 200 lipsticks each month. “People do not buy lipsticks, they only do so on rare occasions such as festivals and special occasions,” added Kavita.

Customers strive harder to make their eyes more beautiful to compensate for the lack of lipsticks. Irshad, manager at an Indian health and cosmetics brand said that women are doing more eye make-up. Post Covid-19 their overall sales have declined by 50 percent, he said.

Women who work on the field choose not to wear lipstick. Vinodini, a security guard at Chickpet metro station, said that since the introduction of masks, she has stopped wearing lipstick.

Rohini Sanyal, Research Economist at ISI Emerging Marketing Group said that “Despite a slowdown in retail sales and subdued consumer sentiment, cosmetic sales have been more on the resilient side. Out of these, the categories of lipsticks have been more affected than other products, which can be attributed primarily to the necessary use of masks that make the use of lipsticks redundant.”

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