'Lipstick index' seen pointing to strong growth for cosmetics in PH

Cathy Yang, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2019 05:28 PM

MANILA - Cosmetics maker Mary Kay expects to continue posting strong growth in the Philippine market despite the slowdown in the country's economic expansion.

Sobee Dueñas-Choa, general manager of Mary Kay Philippines said that while cosmetics may not be essential products or household necessities, beauty products are generally "immune from the economy."

"There is something we call the lipstick index," Choa said in an exclusive interview with ANC's The Boss. 

Choa pointed out that even during the Second World War, when economies were geared towards the war effort, lipstick sales in the US actually went up. 

She added that in 2018 when inflation was at its fastest in nearly 10 years, Mary Kay's sales were up "double-digit."

The presence of a lot of international cosmetics brands in the country also points to a strong demand from Filipinos, as the Philippine economy continues to expand. 

Cosmetics consumers here, she said, are also becoming more "adventurous" when it comes to the variety of makeups and lipsticks they buy. She noted that sales of the brand's more colorful variants were strong, especially among young consumers. 

"There's a natural curiosity for them to try new things," Choa said. 

Another possible source of growth for the company is the emerging market for male cosmetics. She said that in Korea and Japan, men have been buying cosmetics.

"Male vanity is the next big thing."

While Mary Kay today only sells male skincare, Choa said they are not closing their door to selling male cosmetics in the future when the market is large enough.