top of page


Image Credit: Christian Louboutin


The Lipstick effect. We seem to hear this phrase whenever there’s an economic crisis… so what exactly does it mean?

It is the theory that during a financial downturn, namely when disposable income comes under pressure, consumers become more willing to purchase less expensive luxury goods than the high-ticket items.

In a nutshell, rather than obtaining a new coat, Apple laptop or an expensive pair of shoes, the concept is that buyers will consider luxury goods but ones with a lower impact on available funds. Outside of the cosmetics market, popular items include gadgets, stationery and alcohol.

Image: Rollo London Burgundy Hardy

Following the 9/11 attacks, it is believed the lipstick sales almost doubled in New York. Backing this up, Leonard Lauder is quoted in May 1, 2008 as saying his company’s sales of lipstick rose after terrorist attacks. Lauder dubbed this the Lipstick Index- an alternative economic indicator which shows how cosmetic sales increase during an economic crash. The years between 1929 – 1933, industrial production halved in the US, but once again cosmetic sales climbed.

Other categories which respond well during times of uncertainty are ‘spontaneous’ goods which include Instagram friendly items including fragrance, women’s wear and colourful pieces. The common theme being that they are all indulgent whilst still being affordable.

During Covid19, we have realised an extraordinary increase in baking, an area which is also considered to be luxury. For example, even if you spend more than you would on a ready-made brownie, by home baking you not only create an experience and a satisfaction of making something… there is also an added bonus of family time.

From our own research, we have noticed that during lockdown, there has been an increase in home wear and stationery. With the majority of people now at home, the need for a tranquil, beautiful environment has never been so important. Not only are we turning kitchens into home offices, but we are isolating with multiple people in unnaturally confined spaces. It’s far from normal to live, eat, work, relax and sleep in the same place for an undefined period of time. It has therefore never been so important to create flexible spaces which can be transformed quickly for other uses.

An added benefit of lockdown has been the lack of commuting and eating out – both of which have consequently had an encouraging environmental and (for some) personal economic outcome. In the same vain as the ‘lipstick effect’ we are seeing an increase of everyday items such as a notebook, a pen, desk accessories rise in favour of the cheap and cheerful alternatives. In the scheme of things these are a very affordable pick me up with very positive emotional and ecological results.

Rollo London is proud to present its beautiful range of desk accessories and notebooks… all items are carefully designed to be kept, treasured and come in a wide range of colours. Products are UK manufactured, fully environmentally responsible and materials are purchased from certificated suppliers.

Whether you are buying a gift for yourself, a friend or branded stationery for your office, Rollo has something for everyone.

Image: Rollo London Burgundy Collection

Recent Posts
bottom of page