6. No More Plastic. Americans spent $10.3 billion in 2008 to endure 1.7 million cosmetic surgeries, which is 9% less than in 2007.
7. Eye Make Up Is Popular. The leading lipstick indicator — the idea that lipstick sales rise in economic downturn as consumers settle for inexpensive luxuries — is not holding up. Lipstick sales are down 11%. But eye makeup has replaced lipstick as the indicator, so the principle is the same.
8. Later, Gator. Alligator farmers are not selling skins to luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, simply because of a lack of demand.
9. Dry Cleaning Dried Up. Many customers leave their clothes at home longer, until they can afford to pay for them to be cleaned. And they are visiting less often, too.
10. Stagnant pools=mosquito bites. The enormous numbers of foreclosed or abandoned homes have vacant swimming pools and unattended ponds. The stagnant waters — known as green pools — are a hotbed for mosquito breeding. Some residents can’t afford to tend to them any longer if they are still living there.
We wouldn’t bank on sales of romance novels to tell us where the economy is going, but it’s fun to watch these things and find potential correlations. All in all, though, we’ll stick to watching the trend lines instead. What economic indicators have you seen?