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Sun Care Radiates Untapped Success

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

page 4 of 4

Continued campaigning regarding the harmful effects of the sun has been a major contributory factor to the recent growth in sun care sales in Australasia. A growing number of lobby groups have raised awareness of the dangers of sun exposure, and using sun cream has become a daily habit for many people. The Australian Cancer Society (ACS) actively promotes the use of self-tanning, and the Cancer Society of New Zealand offers a sun protection product that is among the top five brands in the market, and saw significant growth in 2003 and 2004.

Diminished Markets

Sun care remains an underdeveloped concept in most parts of Africa and the Middle East, due to a mixture of culture and economics. In conservative Islamic societies, men and women infrequently expose their skin to the sun, and the majority of sales are to Western tourists and expatriates. What growth was achieved derived from South Africa and Morocco, where rising awareness of the dangers of prolonged exposure to the sun led to increased sales of higher SPF products and self-tanners.

Hidden potential

Despite considerable growth over the past five years, sun care remains one of the smallest sectors within the cosmetics and toiletries industry. Although it appears that messages are getting through to the consumer, there still remains a huge untapped potential for growth. Recent press coverage has suggested that there are two clear consumer groups that have not taken on board the mass of health warnings apparent in the media—men and teenagers. For men, the motive seems to be a “sun protection is for wimps” mentality. Teens, too, continue to tan without using sun protection, perhaps because there are no products on the market specifically designed for them both in terms of packaging and formulation. With teen-targeted color cosmetics and skin care lines proving popular, manufacturers should seize the opportunity to educate them in sun care.

It is worth noting that athletes present another very niche consumer group that are not using sun cream. This is particularly surprising considering that so much of their time is spent outdoors. Coty Inc.’s adidas brand, with its sports heritage, would be the ideal brand to meet the needs of this largely unheard group. Indeed, strong future growth for sun care is anticipated, and monitoring the means employed to encourage uptake among these reluctant adopters will be key in fostering the sector’s growth.