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2020 and the Beauty Industry

RéVive CEO, Elana Drell-Szyfer, shares her thoughts on how 2020 has made an impact across the beauty industry. 

2020 and the Beauty Industry 


Leonard Lauder coined the term “the lipstick index.” This “index” is an economic pattern that shows that when the economy is down, the opposite is true for lipstick - its sales are up.  He attributes this phenomenon to the fact that beauty is an emotional purchase and an “affordable” pleasure so if a woman cannot afford to buy a new dress or a new bag she can still splurge and make herself feel good, by buying herself a lipstick. 


If there were ever a year for the beauty industry and frankly every industry to have a difficult year, it is 2020.  Stores closed nationally for almost three months and even when they re-opened, so many things about how business is done has changed. In the beauty business, the experience of touching, smelling, applying product, having your makeup done, or enjoying an in-store treatment is the norm, but not at this time 

 As the lipstick index indicated, beauty is a resilient, creative, and emotionally driven industry. Adversity forces it to evolve and there have been some interesting developments that I believe are now permanent fixtures on the beauty landscape.  

 One is our ease with buying products online. There was a time when no one believed it was possible to buy a beauty product, especially a fragrance without trying it. "Experience is key" people saidbut the industry has gotten so good at replicating the experiences virtually via video and AI-powered "try-on" sessions, that I think a lot of customers have been permanently converted. We saw ecommerce business jump significantly during April, May, and June, and while it has leveled, buying online is here to stay.


The other change in consumer behavior is a newfound "love" and "ease'' with home services -- also known as DIY. I will use myself as an example -- the beauty "upkeep" I regularly seek via a professional includes, hair color, haircut, eyebrow grooming, manicure and pedicure, infrared sauna for detoxing and facials.   


During the "shelter in place" orders of April through June, I did my own eyebrows, bought and used an infrared sauna blanket and multiple facial care devices including the ZIIPNuFace and DermaFlash.


In addition to using skincare devices, I also applied several face masks, of course from RéVive.  I had my daughter color my hair -- and she colored her own and both of her sisters. In turn, I cut all of their hair. I went without a manicure and pedicure and learned to file and buff my own nails.  Was it awful? No. In factI enjoyed saving the time that it takes to go to a salon and the money of seeking external services. I also loved the time I spent with my daughters laughing in the bathroom while coloring hair or applying facial treatment masks. Since the world re-opened, I have returned to professional hair color and cuts, but I now appreciate what I can do for myself at home. I am using external services more sparingly. Many women and men have learned more about how to perform the services they sought externally and are now doing more for themselves at home or alternating between professional service providers and DIY.   

As a result of what I described, which was true for so many, certain categories within beauty are booming. At-home hair color, skincare devices, masks and exfoliators, and the nail category are all segments experiencing positive sales trends, and beauty remains one of the best performing consumer product markets in 2020. 

So, while it might not be “lipstick” per se, (hard to wear under a mask) the concept of the “lipstick index” holds true.  Once again, beauty has proven its ability to evolve, excite and excel even in a difficult economy.   

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