As sales soar 54 per cent in a year, how nail polish replaced lipstick as women’s favourite recession-proof luxury
It is known as the Lipstick Index; the trend for soaring sales of high-end cosmetics, as the rest of the economy declines.
It follows the logic that if women can only afford only limited luxury, a tube of lipstick is an inexpensive option compared with buying a new outfit or spending a day at a spa.
But as the U.S. approaches a second economic dip, it appears trends have changed, and nail polish has now replaced lipstick as the most recession-proof cosmetic.
Little luxury: Nail polish has replaced lipstick as the most recession-proof cosmetic – sales have soared by 54 per cent over the past year
Sales of nail polish have soared by 54 per cent in the past year, according to market researcher, the NPD Group. In contrast, lipstick sales have risen by just 14 per cent.
Estee Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder told Time magazine: ‘Nail polish has become the heir to lipstick in the recession.’
Karen Grant, vice president and global beauty industry analyst at NPD told CNBC: ‘It’s rare to see a trend grow so strong in both mass and prestige channels.
‘Beauty is recovering overall. Consumer spending is still difficult, but beauty is having one of its most robust years. Small indulgences – even still in the prestige channel, paying at most $20 [for nail polish] — is still an affordable amount of money.’
Indeed, there has been a huge surge of interest in nail polish and nail art, which has never been more fashionable.
Where once women stuck to classic shades of nude, pink and red, there are now clearly-defined colour trends, with Chanel a leader in sparking vogues for unlikely shades of taupe and gunmetal.
Innovative: Nails Inc has launched a magnetic polish with iron particles that develop into a wave design when a magnet is held near the nail
Other manufacturers are setting themselves apart with new, more imaginative products, from matte and crackle-finish polishes, to special varnish pens for DIY nail art.
And British brand Nails Inc made headlines this week with the launch of a magnetic polish (as a magnet is held near the nail, iron particles in the polish move, creating a metallic wave design).
Even celebrities are cashing in; OPI has collaborated with the Kardashians, Sephora and even Justin Bieber in the past year – and with huge success, the Bieber line sold over a million bottles.
Setting trends: Chanel’s Particuliere (left) was a bestseller across the globe, while OPI has collaborated with fashion houses including Jason Wu (right)
And Dita Von Teese announced yesterday that she was to put her name to a range of false talons by beauty brand Kiss Nails.
Fashion brands are using nail enamel as their first foray into beauty. Michelle Obama favourite Jason Wu has launched a limited-edition line, while American Apparel and Urban Outfitters both have popular nail lines.
Jan Arnold, of Creative Nail Design, told CNBC: ‘I think for real women, if neon yellow is a real trend and the option is either buying a screeching neon yellow dress or a screeching yellow manicure, she’ll opt for the manicure. Nails are a cheap thrill.’
OPI’s Suzi Weiss-Fischmann added in an interview with Ology.com: ‘Nail color has really achieved the status of an accessory and I think it’s wonderful. It’s an affordable luxury and it makes us feel good.’