Due to COVID-19, lipstick sales fell half while eye-related makeup products have gained more popularity than ever in China
Published: Feb 22, 2021 10:41 PM

Lipsticks are displayed at the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai on November 7, 2020 Photo: CFP

With masks covering half the face amid the COVID-19 pandemic, lipstick sales in China have fallen by nearly half in 2020 while eye-related cosmetic products have gained more popularity than ever before, as Hongxing News reported on Monday.

The news struck a strong chord among Chinese netizens and soared to the top on China's Twitter-like social media platform, Sina Weibo searching list, reaching 180 million engagements by the time of publication.  

"Lipstick rubs dirty on a mask, which I have to wear all the time during the pandemic. As a result, I rarely put on lipsticks as much as I used to," Yang Yang, a 30-year-old woman working in Beijing who is allegedly addicted to cosmetics told the Global Times on Monday. 

Yang enjoyed researching the most fashionable color of lipsticks de jour before the epidemic and would buy at least three pieces a year. However, she did not buy any last year.

Before the pandemic, Yang used to wear full-face makeup even when shopping on her own. However, she lost the enthusiasm for makeup and doesn't wear makeup during her workday.

"No one can see the color on my lips under the mask. There is no need for a rouge lip amid the pandemic," she noted. 

29-year-old Li Shixin from Shijiazhuang, North China's Hebei Province, would insist on putting on lipstick after taking off her mask at the office. 

"However, it is very inconvenient and I sometimes forget," Li told the Global Times. She also did not buy any lipsticks in 2020. "Beauty in appearance is no longer as important as before. The pandemic has taught me that health is the most significant thing," she noted.

Hongxing News learned from lipstick manufacturers and offline retail stores that lipstick sales have declined in the past year. But overall makeup sales are still increasing, especially eye makeup, as reported.

A sales manager at a cosmetics company in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province told Hongxing News that they had to work overtime almost every night in 2019 to produce lipsticks, but overtime work was less because daytime production was sufficient for the market last year.

Guo Xuan, who has been selling makeup products for more than three years in Tianjin, told the Global Times that lipstick orders, which were the most popular product before, marked an obvious decline last year influenced by the wearing of masks. 

Lipstick sales almost dropped by half in Guo's online store and eye-related products are flying off the shelves. Matte and earth tone eye shadow used to be popular, but glitter eye shadow sold extremely well amid the pandemic. 

She believes customers work harder on their eyes being attractive to make up for being without lipsticks. Guo has been selling lipsticks at bargain prices to stock up on some of the top-selling eye-related makeup products.

This trend is not only being seen in China. It is similar also in the US and Japan, according to media reports 

As reported, Japanese market research company Intage ranked products that had poor sales in 2020. Lipstick topped the list due to the widespread use of masks, with a decline of up to 56 percent from a year early.

The Business Insider reported that masks may have dealt a blow to lipstick sales, but eye-related makeup sales are booming as Americans find creative ways to use cosmetics.