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New Dawn for Sun Care

By: Irina Barbalova, Euromonitor
Posted: December 3, 2008, from the December 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The market has also been characterized by the entrance of cosmetics and toiletries manufacturers not traditionally associated with sun care. Companies such as The Estée Lauder Company and Clarins offer a wide range of self-tanning products. The position of these brands is more of pure beauty, although they are, of course, backed by proven research and development efforts. What these players offer is usually an improved version of the patchy or orange self-tanning products that characterize much of what is offered on the mass market, generally with some sort of added function such as moisturizing. The significantly higher brand equity that these producers bring to the market is of more importance. This justifies the higher price positions and supports values across the market. It has also helped blur the boundaries between sun care and other sectors in the global cosmetics and toiletries market. Again, the status of these manufacturers aligns their products more with color cosmetics or skin care. As a result, sales of self-tanning products in a number of markets have been lost to tinted or active moisturizers with bronzing properties.

Emerging Markets

In common with underlying cosmetics and toiletries trends, the strongest growth has come from emerging markets in Asia-Pacific and Latin America. According to Euromonitor International, in dollar terms, sun care values in Brazil grew by 233% from 2003–2007, compared to global growth of 50%. Sales were partially underpinned by the growth in disposable incomes in these markets. However, in several key markets sun care remains a niche product. In China, for example, value sales grew by 16% in local currency terms in 2007, with growth driven by skin-whitening sun protection products such as Dior Snow Sublissime UV and mass sun protection products such as Herborist Sunblock Emulsion.

However, a minority of consumers use sun care, partly because it remains beyond the means of the majority of the consumer base and partly because awareness of the need for protection is low. Demand for high SPF products is strong among the limited consumer base, but more from a desire for whiter skin than for sun protection. Most Chinese consumers are far more likely to cover up and use a hat for protection.

Nonetheless, the strength of growth in these emerging markets suggests that there is strong residual potential. Unlike other parts of the cosmetics and toiletries market, sun care products, especially sun protection, are not especially frivolous. Growing consumer awareness of the damaging effects of the sun on skin should support the strongest global growth in these markets, as young female consumption habits come into line with patterns in more developed markets.

A Bright Future

The global sun care market is expected to maintain strong growth throughout the forecast period, benefiting from many current key trends in the cosmetics and toiletries industry—for example, an aging global consumer base determined to resist the signs of aging, demand for functionality in as many areas of a cosmetics and toiletries regimen as possible, more scientifically and medically aligned products, and strong interest in emerging markets. The practical position of sun protection, the largest and most dynamic part of the market, will also support the value of the sector, as health campaigns increase consumer awareness of the need for protection.