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Sun Care Radiates Untapped Success

By: Ursula Horne
Posted: October 3, 2008, from the February 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Self-tanning proved to be a key growth area during 2004, particularly in Western Europe and Australasia. Delivery design helped to enhance the effectiveness of products, as sprays and mousses emerged on the market with claims of better and longer-lasting coverage. Products also were characterized by quicker drying times, and color pigmentation that showed where the tan had been applied, thus making it easier to obtain an even tan. The fact that self-tanners enabled the appearance of fashionable tanned skin without the need to sunbathe in harmful rays is another reason for the growth in the sector.

After-sun products managed to generate some growth, as its function became clearer in developing regions and as it combined insect repelling properties or nourishers and firming agents. This generated interest in a subsector that had, before the hot summer of 2003, been slow-moving. Sales soared in 2003, as Western Europeans experienced one of the hottest summers on record and were unprepared for the damage that could be inflicted on their skin. The category also saw significant growth in Latin America, where hydration is regarded as an important element of the skin care regime.

Manufacturers hungry for Latin success

Dynamism for sun care in Latin America can be attributed to growing knowledge of the dangers of the sun, which is promoted heavily by manufacturers keen to increase their presence. Latin America was a particular draw due to the large population base, especially in Brazil, and the hot tropical climate. ABIHPEC (The Brazilian toiletry, perfumery and cosmetic association) was successful in gaining the approval of a decree reducing the Industrialized Product Tax on sun protection from 10% to 0% in November 2004. The successful argument was that sun protectors are not products related to aesthetics or vanity, but to health protection. This clearly reduced the cost of sun protection and raised awareness as to the importance of its use in Brazil. There is a wide variety of products available in Brazil, with Johnson & Johnson alone marketing 25 for the 2004-2005 summer season. During the summer, the company launched the first product designed specifically for dark to black skin types, Sundown Illumine.

Domestic manufacturers were successful in Argentina due to the relatively low unit prices of their products and the fact that Argentines tended to holiday in their own country in the wake of the economic crash.

Complexions dictate fashion

A tan generally is regarded as undesirable in Asia-Pacific, and, therefore, consumers tend to wear very high-factor sun protection. Traditionally, these were not user-friendly, as they had thick, sticky formulas, but developments in SPF50+ products have meant that they are now more easily absorbed and can be used with makeup. The perception of tans also means that self-tanners and after-sun products do not feature strongly in the region, and are, in fact, only present in four of the region’s markets—accounting for less than 1% of sun care sales. Strong growth was achieved for sun protection in Asia-Pacific due largely to the exceptionally hot summer experienced in Japan.

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