Let’s Talk About Lipstick!

There’s an awful lot of doom and gloom talk out there. As we move from one crisis to the next (the Collins dictionary word for 2022 was “permacrisis”… a state of permanent crisis), it’s hard to know what’s next, what the future holds and if we’re all going to come out of this ok. Costs across the board are increasing at a time when consumers are tightening their belts… therefore making it nearly impossible to think about passing those costs on.

We want to give you a little ray of sunshine amongst the grey clouds. Historically, beer has performed well in times of uncertainty. People still want to drink, they want to socialise and reward themselves with small, yet affordable, treats. Beer and in particular, craft beer, plays beautifully into what is known as the desire for “affordable luxuries” in times of turmoil.

This is where Lipstick, or to be more precise, The Lipstick Index, comes in. The Lipstick Index is a financial indicator that uses cosmetic sales to forecast bear markets or recessions with the idea coming from Leonard Lauder, who is the billionaire heir to the famous Estee Lauder cosmetics fortune. Lauder noticed, how during recessionary periods, when consumer spending usually drops, sales of his products actually increased. Lauder reasoned that while consumers may cut back on discretionary items, they still spent money on “affordable luxuries.” These items were not expensive, like apparel, jewellery or designer bags; rather, they were lower-priced goods, like makeup.

We see this across a number of categories, such as ice cream, coffee, alcohol and even in-house hair treatments, as consumers look to save money. Their focus becomes centred around “making the home better” as paying external providers such as chefs, hairdressers, beauty therapists etc become unaffordable, yet they still want to feel like they are able to treat themselves. Big ticket items are off the cards as everyone watches their pennies.

With beer being the social equaliser of the alcohol category, and craft beer the luxurious side of beer, it is absolutely perfectly positioned to be an affordable luxury. It’s the perfect treat to make home better as consumers cocoon in the safety of their four walls.

Think about this and how you could talk about the craft, the affordable indulgence, ‘spoil yourself’ messaging in your marketing. It’s the perfect guilt-free positioning that could elevate your beers to the perfect affordable luxury that consumers are looking for as they batten down the hatches!