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People Are Buying Lipstick Again

Data from The NPD Group shows lip makeup is now the fastest-growing segment in the category.

The so-called lipstick index is alive and well.

After taking a hit during the pandemic — when mask wearing made lipsticks practically a non-starter — sales are once again on the rise. 

Data from The NPD Group shows that lip makeup is the fastest-growing area in the category, with sales revenue up 48 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2022 to $222.2 million.

Also good news — the growth is not coming from sales promotions and discounts. Data shows that lipsticks on promotion were discounted 24 percent off the original price during Q1 2022, whereas at the same time in 2021, the average discount for lipsticks on sale was 30 percent off original price.  

And sales for lipstick continue to grow, NPD said, despite CivicScience’s finding that consumers’ confidence in their personal finances fell to an all-time-low in March. 

This is not the first time the phenomenon of increased cosmetic sales during times of economic turmoil has been noted. 

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During the Great Depression, makeup sales increased between 1929 and 1933. During the recession of the early Aughts, Leonard A. Lauder noticed the same thing happening once again, prompting him to coin the term, “lipstick index,” to describe the phenomenon. 

Lauder attributed this behavioral pattern to lipstick being an “affordable luxury,” and thus still within reach for struggling consumers, unlike bigger splurge purchases.


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