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Lipstick or lip gloss? Aussie women kiss and tell

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (January 2013 – December 2013), n=10,407. Base: Australian women 14+
When it comes to the great lipstick vs lip gloss debate, there’s no definitive answer. Some women prefer the full coverage of lipstick, while others are card-carrying, shiny-smiled lip-gloss devotees. Yet others switch between both, depending on the occasion.  A woman’s age can also influence her preference, as the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal…

Last year, 22% of Australian women aged 14+ bought lipstick in an average six-month period, while 13% bought lip gloss.

Whether a woman opts for lipstick or lip gloss appears to be primarily age-related, with women aged 35-49 (22%), 50-64 (26%) and 65+ (28%) being much more likely to buy the former than the latter. However, lipstick also proved more popular than lip gloss among women aged 18-24 last year, with 20% buying it in an average six-month period (compared to lip gloss at 16%).

Lipstick or lip gloss? Sales among Australian women by age group in an average 6-month period


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (January 2013 – December 2013), n=10,407. Base: Australian women 14+

So who’s buying?

While women under 18 seem to prefer lip gloss (16%) over lipstick (14%), lipstick sales have risen among this group since 2009, when just 10% bought it in an average six-month period. The 18-24 age bracket buy more lipstick (20%) than lip gloss (16%), an increase on 2009, when 17% bought lipstick in any given six months.

Curiously, sales of lip gloss — generally seen to be more a young woman’s product — are experiencing a slight rise among women aged 65 and over, 9% of whom bought it in an average six-month period last year compared with 7% in 2009. Of course, this pales in comparison to the group’s lipstick purchasing: at 28%, the over-65s are the age group most likely to buy lipstick in any given six months.

Angela Smith, Group Account Director - Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Overall, our data shows that lipstick is preferred by more Australian women than lip gloss. While women under 35 buy significantly more lip gloss than those aged 35 and over, lipstick sales are actually increasing among younger women, while those aged 65+ are buying slightly more lip gloss (not anywhere near as much as lipstick, though).

“State by state, women from NSW and SA are the most likely to have bought lipstick in the last six months. South Australian women also rank highly for lip gloss sales.

“Demographics like these can provide very useful insights, but with Roy Morgan’s revolutionary new profiling tool, Helix Personas, we can now assist marketers to refine their search for target buyers even further.

“For example, 39% of women from the ‘Set for Life’ persona bought lipstick in an average six months, well above the national average for Australian women (23%). Though these women tend to be older, they are young at heart, and like to get the most out of life: which includes staying in shape and looking good.

“Women from the ‘Status Matters’ persona are much likelier than the average Aussie woman to buy lip gloss (25% vs 14%). Well off and hard-working, they’re typically younger than Set for Life and love shopping.

“In the brand-saturated, competitive cosmetics market, manufacturers and marketers alike need to develop a more targeted approach to their customers in order to remain viable.

For comments or more information please contact:

Angela Smith, Group Account Director - Consumer Products
Office: +61 (2) 9021 9101

Related research reports

View our extensive range of Cosmetics Buyers Profiles, including our  Lipstick Buyers Profile and our Lipgloss Buyers Profile.  These profiles provide a broad understanding of the target audience, in terms of demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage in Australia.

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%