lipstick indicator

lipstick indicator
The tendency for lipstick sales to increase prior to and during a recession.
Example Citation:
You're not imagining it: Shopping can contribute to your psychological health in times of stress, says Dr. Jane Greer, a New York psychologist.
"Making a purchase can be very exciting. You're discovering something new, and you have the anticipation of finding something that's going to please you," she said.
Finance gurus even have a name for shopping in stressful times: the "lipstick indicator."
— Sarah Gilbert, "Pack up your troubles in your new gift bag," The New York Post, March 24, 2003
Earliest Citation:
And even though Lauder thinks a recovery can't take hold without business leading the way, he too is not hopeful that it will be soon. That view, he explained, comes right from the mouths of women.
Or more appropriately, right on the mouths of women.
That's because his company developed what it calls a "leading lipstick indicator." A while ago, Estee Lauder noticed that whenever lipsticks sales went up, consumer confidence and spending went down. That happens, said Lauder, because women still want to feel good about themselves in tough times, but they can't always afford higher-priced items.
The compromise is lipstick.
— Christian Millman, "Retailers gather to look to future," The Morning Call (Allentown, PA), January 15, 2002
For financial types, an indicator is an economic variable that shows the current state of some aspect of the economy. A leading indicator (or, more formally, a leading economic indicator) is an economic variable that shows the direction of future economic activity. Today's phrase, which was coined by Leonard Lauder, chairman of Estee Lauder, posits that lipstick sales can be used as both an indicator and a leading indicator. Indeed, Lauder's original formulation for the phrase was leading lipstick indicator, as shown in the earliest citation below. Why does it work? Probably because of the so-called lipstick effect: the tendency during tough times for consumers to purchase small, comforting items such as lipstick rather than large luxury items.
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  • Leading Lipstick Indicator — An indicator based on the theory that a consumer turns to less expensive indulgences, such as lipstick, when she (or he) feels less than confident about the future. Therefore, lipstick sales tend to increase during times of economic uncertainty… …   Investment dictionary

  • lipstick effect — n. During a recession, the tendency for consumers to purchase small, comforting items such as lipstick rather than large luxury items. Example Citation: If you ve been following domestic news in recent weeks, you ve probably heard about the… …   New words

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  • Lipstick Effect — A theory that states that during periods of recession or economic downturn, consumers will eschew purchases of big ticket luxury items and seek material solace in smaller indulgences, such as premium lipstick. Also known as the leading lipstick… …   Investment dictionary

  • Lipstick index — The lipstick index is a economic indicator. Purchases of cosmetics lipstick in particular tend to be inversely correlated to economic health. During bad economic times, purchases of cosmetics rise.References*… …   Wikipedia

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  • Goldilocks effect — (GOHL.dee.loks uh.fekt) n. When something succeeds or prospers because it is neither too big nor too small. Example Citation: Size does matter. Up to a certain point, the more widgets you produce, the cheaper each widget becomes. But you no… …   New words

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