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Dynamic Sun Care Sector Continues to Thrive

By: Carrie Lennard, Euromonitor International
Posted: December 7, 2009, from the December 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

Sun care has been one of the most dynamic categories in the global cosmetics and toiletries market—posting an 8% compound annual growth rate 2003–2008, while the growth for the market as a whole was 5%, according to Euromonitor International. Growth has been strong partially because of the sector starting from a relatively low base (sun care accounted for only 2% of total cosmetics and toiletries value sales in 2008), but the use of sun care products is becoming increasingly prevalent—and not just in developed Western markets.

Booming Brazilian; Chinese Markets Drive the Category

As in the wider cosmetics and toiletries market, sun care’s strongest performances have been in emerging regions—namely Asia-Pacific and Latin America, with 12% and 17% compound annual value growth from 2003–2008 respectively, according to Euromonitor International. This strong regional growth was due primarily to the rapid development of sun care in Brazil* and China. Between them, the countries accounted for 25% of the total $2.4 billion absolute growth in sun care 2003–2008.

Sun care in China has been driven more by a desire for whiter skin than for health concerns. The consumer base for sun protection products in the country is overwhelmingly dominated by beauty-conscious females. There is an increasing trend to apply sun protection products even earlier in the year, with many users starting to apply sunscreen in March and using it through the end of the summer.

Many of these products, such as Dior Snow Sublissime UV and Herborist Sunblock Emulsion, also incorporate whitening ingredients—taking advantage of the popularity of whitening products, the main growth driver behind the boom in the Chinese personal care industry. As awareness of skin cancer grows, sales growth deriving from men and children is also expected, and anticipated to contribute to the $175 million absolute growth that Euromonitor is predicting for the sun care sector in China during 2008–2013.