Beauty and recession only skin deep in Singapore: poll

Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:27pm EST
 
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SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Despite the threat of job losses and the country's deepest economic recession, seven in 10 Singaporeans will continue to spend on beauty products and services, a small industry survey showed.

One in every two polled said they spent at least S$50 ($33) a month on beauty products and a third said they would be cutting back on other lifestyle choices, not beauty, according to a survey by the organizer of the BeautyAsia 2009 exhibition.

"I don't think any of us has ever really appreciated how important looking good is to Singaporeans," show organizer Gillian Loh said in a statement.

"For the majority, it is a 'must-have' rather than a luxury."

Shopping is considered a pastime for many people in this small city-state of 4.6 million and cosmetics counters at department stores on central Orchard Road are often crowded.

The poll fits in with what economists often call the "lipstick factor," referring to the historic rise in sales of beauty products as consumers spend on small luxuries to offset their overall belt-tightening.

Despite the government's dire warning the economy could shrink by five percent this year, around 36 percent of respondents said they would keep their current standard of living, according to the poll of just under 100 people aged over 18, which was conducted in January.

Even those who said they would review their beauty spending would just switch to house brands over designer levels, it said.

($1=1.513 Singapore Dollar)

(Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

 
<p>A model has her hair adjusted backstage before the Shu Uemura show during the Singapore Fashion Festival March 26, 2007. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash</p>