Marketers are rolling out a new crop of specialty sun care products this spring -- lotions with high SPFs, oil-free formulas, sunless tanners and sunscreens with insect repellents. In addition, marketers are taking another look at forgotten sun worshippers and launching tanning products with no sunscreen.
Carolyn A. Dunn
S unscreen products are often associated with relaxing images of lounging by the pool or at the beach. But more and more, marketers in the $388.6 million sun care market are targeting the consumers who are out in the sun playing land and water sports. As spring approaches, a wave of new products will roll out onto retail shelves, most offering more than just reliable broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. This year's crop of products also features oil-free formulations, protection against sun and bugs and water-proof and sweat-proof lotions and gels that won't run and irritate the eyes.
This year Chattem has added Bull Frog SPF 36 Quik Gel to its sun care lineup. According to Andrea Krouch, vice president of marketing, toiletries and cosmetics, Quik Gel goes on like a watery gel, but dries instantly. "Gels are important right now," said Ms. Krouch. "Consumers want sun protection but they also want it to fit into their lifestyles. They don't want a lotion to stick to their hands. They can apply Quik Gel and pick up a tennis racquet right away-without having to wash their hands again." Sports-oriented positioning isn't new to the Bull Frog brand; it was originally developed in the early 1980s for surfers.
Solar Sun Care, marketer of the No Ad brand, has launched its first sport product. The formula is light-weight and quick-drying. "The sport niche has done extremely well and will continue to grow," predicted Bill Kinney, senior vice president, sales and marketing.
Playtex has launched Banana Boat Action Sport spray gel SPF 25. The new product addresses the needs of active consumers, especially men, who want an easy-to-use and no mess application, said Jean Fufidio, senior product manager at Playtex.
British Columbia, Canada-based KineSys, offers a line of body care products specifically designed for sports enthusiasts. The company was founded in 1994 by former personal fitness trainer Josie Kletter, and markets its products, including an SPF oil-free sunscreen spray, SPF 15 oil-free sunscreen spray with insect repellent and SPF 30 lotion, at its web site (www.kinesys.com).
Bain de Soleil has a new owner, new products and a new image. Bain de Soleil's Le Sport is waterproof, non-greasy, sweatproof and rubproof. It too is aimed at active consumers. Le Sport is just one of the brand's new niche products. Last year, Pfizer purchased Bain de Soleil from Procter & Gamble. "This is the first season under Pfizer where virtually all aspects of the marketing program have changed, marked by the new niche sun care lines," said Virginia Beissel, marketing manager. In addition to specialty lines, Pfizer has also repackaged and color-coded the Bain de Soleil sun care lines -- blue for the LeSport line and purple for the Mademoiselle line. The color code will make it easy for consumers to recognize the products.
Kids & Bugs
Sure, sunscreens may protect consumers from the sun but folks may still be swatting at bugs. This year, both Coppertone and Banana Boat offer products that combine the protection of sunscreen with N,N-diethyl-m toluamide (DEET) insect repellent. Schering-Plough's new Bug & Sun SPF 15 & 30 sunscreen with insect repellent contains 10% DEET. Schering-Plough expects the product will be sold in both traditional sunscreen displays and in sporting goods departments and stores. The company expects most sales will come from consumers who enter a store looking for sunscreens, said Tom Feitel, senior director of sun care marketing. "These consumers are active in locations where bugs can be a problem, such as hiking and golf, and they may have had to use two products in the past."
Banana Boat's new Bite Block sunblock is available in SPF 15 for adults with 20% DEET and SPF 15 with 10% DEET for kids.
Protecting children's skin is a priority for many parents, but actually getting the sunscreen on fidgety kids is another matter. To make applying sunscreen more bearable, and even fun, category leader Coppertone has launched Kids Colorblock SPF 30. The purple-colored formula disappears after it's rubbed into the skin. "Colorblock is a completely unique concept in sun care," said Mr. Feitel. "If you're a parent, it can be a nightmare to get your kids to stop squirming and stand still to apply sunscreen. The disappearing purple color makes it fun. And the real benefit is that parents can see where they're applying it, so there is even coverage and no missed spots." Coppertone has two different patents pending on the colorblock formula. Coppertone sales totaled $130 million last year, and Schering-Plough executives said the new color product will make a big splash in the children's market. At Coppertone, children's products already comprise more than 17% of category sales. Other new products include Little Licks cherry-flavored lip balm in an SPF 30 formula, and SPF Coppertone Kids stick, for noses, chins, ears and other hard-to-reach spots.
After years of warnings about the dangers of excessive sun exposure, the dark tanning segment had been relatively quiet compared to the growing market of high SPF products. But sun worshipers are still out there, and marketers are once again trying to give these consumers what they want. Tanning consumers represent up to 18% of sun care product users, noted Solar Sun Care's Mr. Kinney. This year the company is launching an Australian style deep tanner under its No-Ad brand. He added that the dark tanning consumers are mostly young adults, and describes the desire for a deep tan as part of an "extreme" lifestyle attitude.
The sun worshiper is a surprising niche area, acknowledged Ms. Fufidio of Playtex. She explained that the tanning segment continues to grow among young consumers, vacationers and tanning salon users who want a fast tan. Banana Boat's Tan Express is a new line of six products with no sun protection factor. The four tanning products include Ultimate oil, Sonic gel, Magna spray lotion and Optimum lotion. Two after-sun products include Arctic aloe gel and enriched moisturizer.
High Hopes for High SPFs
Although some consumers may opt for no sun protection factor, many are looking for the highest SPF levels. Playtex wants to lure these consumers with BioSun Professional Sun Protection, a new line of five products for "the serious sun care consumer." Available in SPFs ranging from of 15 to 45, the company expects these products will have greatest appeal among 35 to 54-year old women. According to Ms. Fufidio, the high SPF segment is showing strong growth. However, she said, "Consumers are hungry for information but don't know the proper way to use sunscreen." She noted that the company is taking steps to educate consumers with in-store SPF guides and a toll-free hotline, 800-SAFESUN.
Tanning Research Labs' has reformulated its Hawaiian Tropic high-SPF BioShield line to moisturize better and feel lighter on the skin, according to Jack Surrette, senior vice president, marketing. He agreed that there is strong, growing interest in higher SPFs, mostly among older consumers.
Chattem's new Quik Gel and Kids gel both contain SPF 36, the highest protection factor available from the company. "Higher SPFs have been a phenomenal growth area for the company," said Ms. Krouch of Chattem. "There is a significant trend to high protection." She added that the company is also seeing higher year-round sales of its sun care products. But, she added, the company will not rush into new product launches. "We are a little bit more cautious about introducing new products. We like to keep our line tight and focused."
"The tanning segment is declining as people are becoming more concerned with the risk of sun damage," commented Ms. Beissel of Pfizer, "and as a result, there is a trend towards products with high SPF." The Bain de Soleil brand now includes Mademoiselle SPF 15, Le Sport 15 and 30, All Day Kids SPF 30 and All Day Gentle Block 30.
As consumers heed warnings about sun exposure, many have turned to sunless tanners for a golden look. Clinique's new Bronzewear Tinted self-tanner lets the consumer see where she is applying it, so there are no missed spots, and no waiting. The water-soluble bronzing ingredients provide an immediate glow that deepens in two to three hours, according to Clinique. The product contains synthetic melanin, which helps create an even tan, and lactic acid helps keep the skin at a slightly acidic pH, which aids self tan color development.
Estee Lauder has introduced Self-Action Sunless SuperTan, which starts to darken skin less than one hour after application. The tanner decreases the pH of the skin for a significantly longer period of time, for a deeper tan that lasts longer, according to the company. Vitamins E and C are used in the SuperTan for the face and vitamin E and provitamin B are in the SuperTan for the body. The collection also includes a spray, tanning creme and exfoliating creme for use before the self tanner.
Sunless tanners accounted for 16% of Coppertone's sales in 1996, according to the company. Women 15 to 24 years old represent more than 25% of the segment's sales. To target these consumers, Coppertone has expanded its offerings with a new oil-free sunless tanner that absorbs quickly without clogging pores or causing breakouts, according to the company.
Hold the Oil
Avoiding blemishes and breakouts concerns many consumers, especially teens. Last year, Schering-Plough pioneered the oil-free sun care segment with its specially formulated line, Coppertone Oil Free. According to the company, Coppertone oil-free products were its best selling new sun care products of 1996.
Hawaiian Tropic's new Clear Sense with benzoyl peroxide "takes the oil free concept to the next stage-oil absorption," said Mr. Surrette. "Teens are some of the heaviest users of sun care, and many are supplementing their tanning product purchases with protective products." He mentioned that although many teens are becoming more aware of long-term skin damage, many buy sun protection for its immediate benefit-as a way to stay out in the sun longer without burning." In addition to benzoyl peroxide, the Clear Sense formula also boasts a new emulsion delivery system, according to the company. The formula contains smaller ingredient particles to allow more efficient and uniform sun protection coverage. (For more on delivery systems, see page 64 of the print version of HAPPI, or go here.)
Banana Boat has also launched an oil-free sunblock line. The SPF 8, 15 and 30 products are in response to a growing demand for oil-free products, especially among younger consumers concerned about blemishes, blackheads and skin breakouts, said Ms. Fufidio.
Pfizer's Bain de Soleil sun care line, revamped to target niche segments of the market, now includes the Mademoiselle line of oil-free, waterproof sunscreens aimed at young women, said Ms. Beissel, marketing manager. In department stores, Clinique will offer consumers Face-Zone sunblock 30, a lightweight, oil-free sun protector that glides on easily and absorbs quickly into the skin, according to the company.
New and Noteworthy
This summer, consumers will have plenty of choices: a wide range of sun protection factors, combination products, improved formulations, and even a colorful sunscreen. But Hawaiian Tropic will offer consumers another choice -- based on olfaction. The company's new herbal sun care line includes an SPF 4 tanning lotion, SPF 2 tanning mist and after sun moisturizer. The fragrant products contain extracts of Hawaiian white ginger, aloe vera, ginseng and chamomile. "The root of our herbal product development was consumer-based interest," said Mr. Surrette. "Interest in herbal products and aromatherapy has grown significantly in the past two years. Launching an herbal line was a natural fit with Hawaiian Tropic's natural positioning."
Neutrogena is expanding its sun care line with several new products, including Kids SPF 30 sunblock, oil-free SPF 30 sunblock, Glow Sunless tanning lotion (medium/deep) and Glow sunless tanning spray (medium/deep). New forms will also be available, including a sunblock spray for hard to reach areas. The sunblock stick SPF 15, created for sports enthusiasts, is designed for use on the face, nose, ears and shoulders, and won't run into eyes, according to Neutrogena.
Shiseido's new Gentle Sun Block cream SPF 22 contains titanium dioxide made with ultra-fine granules that leave a translucent finish. According to the company, its Ultra Light Sunblock lotion SPF 30 features the Quick Fit emulsion technology, which combines quick drying, non-viscous oil and hydrophobic treated powder. Quick Fit allows both water and oil to evaporate simultaneously without leaving a heavy or sticky feeling. The lotion also contains Shiseido's vitamin compound EPC-K, a combination of oil-soluble vitamin E and water-soluble vitamin C, made with phosphate, which provides a link between vitamin E and kalium. The latter facilitates water solubility.
Although larger sun care marketers are rolling out many new products in 1997, Solar Sun Care takes a conservative approach to product introduction. "Since our philosophy is no advertising, we have to wait and see what's successful before we jump into a new segment," said Mr. Kinney. "The nature of the business is that we are sometimes a year behind other brands in terms of segment additions." But that approach seems to serve the company well. According to Information Resources, in 1996, No Ad moved into the top five brands of sun care, and did it without any advertising. "We have a fairly loyal following because of quality. These consumers don't have to pay a fortune to get great results, and they come back again and again," he said. "And, we continue to expand the offerings -- protection, after sun, sport, kids and sunless tanning. We cover all of the bases," said Mr. Kinney. This year the company will offer all of its products in 8-oz. tubes in addition to its original 16-oz. bottles. Some of the smaller or independent stores with limited space may not have room to stock the large 16-oz. bottles, explained Mr. Kinney. He added that although the brand is making inroads into most major grocery and drug chains, most of No Ad's growth is from existing accounts that are carrying more of the brand's SKUs. Solar Sun Care also markets the Deep Tan brand. According to Mr. Kinney, although there was no new product activity within the brand this year, the company has plans to introduce new products in 1998.
Mr. Surrette of Hawaiian Tropic expects 1997 to be an exceptional launch year for sun care products, with more than 60 new items from the major sun care marketers. "It's going to be an exciting year, with a lot of packed shelves. But, there will be a shakeout of what products worked and what didn't, and the retailers will then ultimately decide what stays," he said. He also anticipates that larger sizes, such as 6- and 8-oz. bottles and tubes, will impact the sun care market this year. Retailers may want to stock sizes larger than the traditional 4-oz. bottle or tube, he said, since consumers are increasingly on the lookout for more value. "There may be a real spike in dollar sales this year," he said, "but a lot of that may be based on the higher-priced, larger sizes."