What Does It Mean That No One’s Buying $3 Nail Polish?

Earlier in the Great Recession, cosmetics company Coty was doing pretty well. The company makes the least expensive cosmetics that you’ll find in a local drug or discount store, brands like Sally Hansen and Rimmel. Even as the global economy fell apart around us, people could still spare a few bucks for nail polish, and the company did relatively well. Now sales are down and retailers aren’t ordering as much. Why is that?

It isn’t just the end of summer sandal season, says the Wall Street Journal. Except for people at the very bottom of the economy, it actually might be an encouraging sign that inexpensive cosmetics aren’t flying off the shelves, because it means that consumers have tightened their belts after making much-delayed major purchases.

No, we don’t mean iPhones. Think bigger-ticket items, like cars, home renovations, or large appliances.

On the other hand, Walmart, a retailer that stocks many of Coty’s products, told investors that its customers aren’t coming in or buying as much, but not because they’re paying off a new deck. It’s because if they have a job, they’re nervous about losing it, and are nervous about the economy in general.

What Sales of $3 Nail Polish Say About the U.S. Economy [Wall Street Journal]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.