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Defying usual pattern, lip segment up across the board.

NEW YORK -- The lip category has often been compared to a see-saw. When gloss sales were up, lipsticks were down. But in the past six months, retailers have seen both segments balancing healthy gains.

To wit, for the most recent 12week period ended August 7 in all mass doors, lip gloss sales expanded almost 6%, lipstick volume rose nearly 11 % and lip liner capped off the positive trend with a 4.6% uptick in dollars.

Buyers explain the improvement across the board to women using a wardrobe of lipstick trends--and sometimes applying a gloss over a lipstick for a layered look.

Then, too, liner sales have been boosted by sales of products inspired by Kylie Jenner's LipKit, which included a liner and a liquid lipstick. She also added gloss. Jenner's LipKits continue to sell out within minutes on her direct site. They sell for three times the price on ebay, but have also helped boost sales of products that virtually accomplish the same looks such as those at NYX. Beauty advisors at NYX said savvy consumers know just which products to buy in their stores to create the same look at a much more reasonable price than Jenner's $28 cost.

Luxurious, glossy lips shown earlier this year on runways have been translated in mass market brands, inspiring women to try new hues. Examples include Revlon's Super Lustrous Lip Gloss, L'Oreal Colour Riche gloss and wet n wild Mega Slicks. The latter pumped up sales by more than 30%.

In lipsticks, Milani's Color Statement Lipstick made headlines with almost a 65% increase. The colors appeal to all women, but have a big following with multicultural shoppers who index high in lip color, experts said.

Younger customers who gravitated to dark, almost goth looks spurred sales of lines such as Maybelline's Loaded Bold Blackest Berry. Spurred by Kylie Jenner, even blue lip sticks are emerging on shelves.

Of all the color cosmetics categories, industry experts said lip is the one that benefits most from beauty apps. The Cargo Cosmetics' app even shows how users will look with one of its formulas that plump lips. Sephora used technology to expose its huge lipstick library via its Virtual Artist app. Users can swipe through 3,000 shades to find what's right for them.

Women often ask other women what shade they are wearing. To help women steal a friend's look, Rimmel rolled out an app this summer called Get The (London) Look mobile app. Like many apps, women can sample on themselves, but as an added feature they can zap a friend's face and get matches within Rimmel's database. "We see that women are inspired by looks they see on the street and want to create those looks," said Camillo Pane, Coty's executive vice president category development.

Under the heading of treatment, buyers have noticed interest in masks for lips. The concept is the same as facial masks--high intensity moisturization. A brand gaining notice is Miss Spa Deep Therapy.


Now owned by Markwins, Lip Smacker is building back the reputation of the venerable logo. Markwins and Lip Smacker sponsored the 2016 tour of singer, songwriter Meghan Trainor, who rose to fame with her "All About That Bass" hit, but also croons a song that says "your lips are movin."

Bill George, president and chief operating officer of Markwins, said Trainor helped Lip Smacker sales move. "She's had an immediate impact," he said.

After Trainor's first Untouchable show in the U.S. earlier this month in Seattle, Lip Smacker's e-commerce orders soared 150% on the Monday following the concert from the same day a week before. The brand also registered a 300% increase in traffic to its various social media sites from Saturday night through Tuesday.

That keeps the momentum going for the brand with revenues surging 90% week over week, according to the company. Lip Smacker has expanded its reach into stores such as Claire's and Kohl's, which join the other 64,000 doors where it is sold in America.
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Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Sep 26, 2016
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