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Finding the Hot Spot

By: Briony Davies
Posted: August 28, 2008, from the February 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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South Korea, Japan and China are the key markets, although demand in Asia-Pacific is almost entirely confined to sun protection. Because pale skin is perceived as a mark of beauty in the region, there is limited demand for self-tanning and after-sun products. Rather, consumer trends are largely toward sun protection products with high SPFs and long-lasting coverage. In South Korea, the largest sun care market in the region, sales increased by almost a third in 2005, driven by a trend toward year-round application of sunscreen. In China, sun protection is becoming more mainstream, and products now are available in a wide array of retail channels.

Manufacturers looking to sustain growth in this market target specific consumer groups. Currently, the sun care consumer base in Asia-Pacific is dominated by women and children. Expanding this to include older consumers and to men will be fundamental to attaining success.

Awareness Boosts Sales

Euromonitor International observes that increasing consumer awareness of the risks of sun exposure is the key to driving demand for sun care. Australia is a case in point; the Australian Cancer Council has been vigorous in its attempts to encourage consumers to “slip slop slap.” Skin cancer prevention messages are broadcast on television and national radio; outdoor sports and recreation facilities have been urged to provide shade for participants; and Australians are warned to stay out of the sun during the “danger hours” between 10 am–2 pm. Such efforts have made Australia one of the most dynamic markets for per capita expenditure on sun care, with growth of 75% between 2001 and 2005.

The latest awareness drives have focused on the dangers of sun exposure—even on cloudy, cold days—and the effects of UVA rays that do not burn the skin but cause long-term damage that manifests in aging skin. Awareness is most developed in the mature markets, hotter countries and markets where skin tones are more obviously impacted by the effects of UV radiation. However, as governments become more concerned with mounting health issues and manufacturers look to boost worldwide penetration rates, consumer education campaigns are spreading globally.

Make Protection Easier

Manufacturers are not just working to raise awareness of sun overexposure, they also have begun to make it easier for consumers to protect themselves. A major barrier to sun protection use is the inconvenience of many products. Portable products, continuous sprays, longer-lasting formulations and even sun protection pills are just some of the innovations coming onto the market. These products are designed to leave consumers with no excuses to not protect their skin. Johnson & Johnson’s Piz Buin 1 Day Long, for example, claims to be water- and sweat-resistant and to provide UVA and UVB protection for up to 10 hours.