Product Bite: Color Me Red!

‘Tis the season to be jolly! As the busy party season kicks in, I know a lot of women who browse the web for holiday looks inspiration (I do it too!) Most fashion blogs suggest a scarlet red lip as the centerpiece of your makeup. It got me thinking about the makeup industry. Do they also push red the way that other industries do? After Thanksgiving, color schemes around America change overnight from brown and orange to red and green. Thank goodness nobody’s pushing green lipstick on us!

shutterstock_189472877gI decided to dig into the Indix Product API to identify some trends and check if my theory holds true. Overall, our API has indexed over 68,000 lipsticks in the past 60 days. Of these, red products account for about 8% while a more popular spring color like coral is at 1.5%. Obviously, the spring and summer colors don’t disappear from the market, but it appears that they do take a backseat. To get some more insight, I looked closer at some of the top brands, trying to get a mix of high-end and drugstore names. The products here include lipsticks, lip liners, and lip glosses.

High-end brands: Bobbi Brown, Dior, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Shiseido, MAC

Drugstore brands: Covergirl, L’Oreal, Max Factor, Maybelline, Milani, NYX, Revlon, Rimmel, Wet N Wild

Here is the product count based on color. Red is clearly leading, followed by berry, which is another popular fall shade. Surprisingly enough, plum is lagging even though it is a very popular shade for fall. Note that berry includes variations like raspberry, strawberry, etc. – different shades of red, one could argue.


What about the price? Are we paying a premium for buying red lipsticks this time of the year? Let’s look at the high-end brands first. The price here shows the average minimum sale price across the market, including all the stores where the brand’s products are sold online.

High end brands 2

At first glance, except for Dior, no other brand seems to charging unusually high prices for red lip products… which is a good thing! With all the other holiday expenses, you don’t want to be spending more than you need to on makeup. MAC, Dior, and Estee Lauder price their plum products lower than red – good time to stock up. I was surprised that for most brands, corals and reds are priced competitively, even though the product count for coral is much lower.

What’s going on with the drugstore brands?

drugstore brands 2

Again, barring exceptions like Wet N Wild, NYX and Maybelline, the colors are pretty competitively priced. But what’s going on with Rimmel and Max Factor’s pricing for plum lip products? It would have been interesting to see if these products were priced lower in the fall when women start transitioning from using brighter summer colors to the plums and browns. The brands that price red products lower than others, I wonder if they are trying to optimize sales by offering better deals at this time.

Here’s a view of the pricing of red lip products versus plum, coral and berry put together.

red and others

Across the board, about half the brands price red lip products higher than other colors. It’s understandable and thankfully the difference isn’t too much.

To wrap up, here’s another fun fact. Despite the seasonal influences, pink still remains a timeless class holding its own. Collectively these brands carry about 1,900 pink lip products, which is way more than even the 1,125 red products. Ranging from subtle baby pink shades to hot pinks, I assume the versatility of the color makes it appropriate for several occasions. We’ll keep tracking these products to see what other trends might surface in the months to come. In the meantime, happy holidays! Party in red!

  Download the Pervasive Commerce White Paper
Get Free Trial Now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *