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Finding the Hot Spot

By: Briony Davies
Posted: February 20, 2007

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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.

Similarly, educating consumers to use self-tanners as a safer alternative to sun bathing or sun beds will only work if self-tanning products are quick and easy to use in addition to achieving even, natural-looking results.

According to Euromonitor International, Boots saw its global share increase in 2005 due, in part, to the success of its Soltan Back Applicator, launched in the U.K., which made it easier to apply self-tanner to hard-to-reach parts of the body. Other new convenience formats in self-tanning include air-brush sprays for streak-free, fast-drying color; sponge petals that provide an even tan for the face; and moisturizing self-tans that can be incorporated into the daily beauty regimen and build-up of a slow, gradual tan. These developments are more prominent in the mature markets, where the role of sun protection is better understood and where consumers can afford to trade up—although it is spreading into emerging countries too. Convenience formats encourage both initial usage and continued application, something that will spur repeat purchases and volume sales. These formats also will give products a unique selling point in a crowded market and help justify higher unit prices.

Refine Consumer Targeting

Players who need a boost in volume sales should consider ways to hit the hardest to reach consumers—men, older age groups and, in some markets, children, tweens and teens. Encouraging men to use sun protection could be achieved by linking its usage to sports. That men and women require different UV protection also is an important fact that manufacturers could bring out and use in the development of formulations created especially for male skin. A focus on the aging effects of the sun should make older consumers understand the importance of sun care, especially given that antiaging is the biggest driving force behind skin care sales. Dual-action sunscreens, after-sun products and self-tans that offer antiaging benefits could appeal to this group.

For children, the issue is about ensuring usage when parents are not around. The key here is to offer fun packaging and easy-to-use formats, such as sprays and wipes. Long-lasting formulations, such as Piz Buin’s 1 Day Long, could also work—enabling parents to apply block on their children in the morning for all-day protection.