Recession Causing Women to Choose Practicality Over Glamour

It is said that lipsticks, miniskirts and high-heeled shoes sell well during a recession. However, this saying may need to be revised as sales of foundation, T-shirts and flat-heeled shoes are increasing in the current economic downturn.

The most surprising phenomenon may be the drop in popularity of high-heeled shoes. Gmarket, an online shopping mall, revealed that high-heeled shoes accounted for just 13 percent of women's shoe sales between March and May of this year, down from 30 percent last year. Meanwhile, the ratio of flat-heeled shoes with heels lower than 2-3 cm rose to 50 percent from 40 percent. A fashion stylist said, "An increasing number of consumers are placing practicality before appearance amid the recession."

It also appears that miniskirts are being replaced by T-shirts. Shinsegae Department Store saw sales of apparel wear grow only 4.5 percent on-year during the period from May to early June, while sales of female casual clothing whose main item is T-shirts increased 13 percent.

The "Lipstick Index," once a barometer of economic activity, is being replaced with the "Foundation Index." According to research firm AC Nielsen, foundation has been selling better than lipstick since last year when the global economic downturn began. In the U.K. sales of foundation soared a whopping 15 percent while lipstick sales grew a meager 2.5 percent. A survey by market research firm Kline & Company shows that sales of lipsticks dropped 5.8 percent in the U.S. while foundation sales posted a 2.5 percent growth. It is believed that this preference is because more and more women are being forced to cut back on cosmetic spending, and are therefore choosing foundation, which makes the whole face brighter, over lipstick.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 15, 2009 11:15 KST