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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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A reversal of 2003’s decline in sun care sales was seen in North America in 2004. The hot climate was responsible for increases in sun protection, and self-tanners benefited from media attention that urged consumers to avoid overexposure. North America accounts for 50% (the United States accounts for 46%) of global sales in self-tanners, which also were incorporated into sun protection during the year. Self-tanners provide a safe and increasingly user-friendly alternative for adopting a fashionable tan without damaging sun exposure.

Polarization in Western Europe

The United Kingdom figures as the world’s second largest market (after the United States) for self-tanners, and demonstrated impressive growth in recent years due to advances in self-tanning technology. Manufacturers reduced drying or color development time and eliminated orange skin or the possibility of streaking. An example of this kind of product improvement was Clinique’s Face Quick Bronze Tinted Self-Tanner, which is tinted to let the user catch streaks before the product dries. Additionally, the newer products offer a better scent than previous products, and are delivered in more efficient applicators such as sprays and mousses.

On the whole, Western Europe produced a polarized response to sun care in 2004, with Greece, Portugal, Spain, France and the Netherlands putting in a strong performance, while other northern countries suffered decline. This partly was due to the lack of a good summer after the heat wave of 2003 and the continued preference for sun beds in Germany.

Room for education

Eastern Europe showed solid growth for the fifth consecutive year in 2004, increasing sales by 8%. The most rapid growth in the region was seen in the Ukraine, Romania and Russia, where greater affluence meant that middle and higher income consumers showed an increasing interest in the more sophisticated, premium products. The region, as a whole, remains extremely undeveloped, and there continues to be great scope for education. The majority of consumers prefer to use low-factor sun protection, and have little understanding of the importance of higher SPFs.

In Russia, the dominant market in the region, sun care still is a relatively new sector, with its advent occurring only in the 1990s when multinationals entered the market. Local brands are only now starting to make inroads. Despite being considerably smaller, Poland generates more sales in sun care than Russia, although its market is far less dynamic. Much of the growth in Russia stemmed from self-tanners, sales of which have doubled since 2001.

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