The Sun Shines on Europe

By Katie Middleweek, Editor, European Cosmetic Markets | March 31, 2010

On the whole, it has been a sunny and temperate year for the European sun care market with all Big 5 countries, apart from Germany, registering growth in value terms. The UK and France recorded the most growth in value terms, while Germany dramatically lost sales in its sun care, after-sun and self-tanning categories in what has been a troubled year for the country.

French Fortunes

Despite a very mixed couple of years for the French sun care market, the clouds parted in 2009 and sales rose 7.9% to $171 million, according to IRI France. Volume sales rose a similarly impressive 7.3% to exceed 14.5 million units. Breaking the category down further indicates that most French consumers favor the milks and lotions format when it comes to sun protection as this area now has a sizeable market value of nearly $103 million, an increase of 10.4%.

Demand for tan enhancers in France has led manufacturers to develop a spectrum of products to suit this category. Matis’ latest launch, Réponse Soleil Gelée Sublimatrice (Magnifying Gel), provides a tint to the skin, while simultaneously moisturizing it and preventing water loss to help preserve a tan. Copper and gold pigments are also used to give a glow to skin while hyaluronic acid and polysaccharides moisturize, bisabolol soothes and prevents irritation, and allantoin helps promote skin regeneration.

Gloomy and Overcast

It certainly wasn’t sunny side up for German consumers in 2009. Sun care product sales (excluding self-tanning products) fell 4.6% to $167 million last year, according to data from IRI Germany. Volume sales also took a nosedive, slipping 6.7% to 4.4 million units. The German self-tanning sector fared no better, slipping an even more worrisome 5.8% to $29.5 million.

Despite this gloomy news, Beiersdorf recognized the importance of the children’s sun care segment, with the 2009 launch of Nivea Sun Kids Swim and Play. Available in SPF 30 and SPF 50, it keeps children protected from the sun’s rays even when they are in the water—with no need for reapplication. The product is said to glide on quickly and absorb easily and is said to be the ideal choice for children who spend their time in the sun splashing around in the sea or swimming pool.

Shine On

Meanwhile, the Italians kept their sunny dispositions and their sun care market buoyant. According to Unipro, the Italian sun care market rose 1.8% in 2008 to $580 million. Admittedly, that’s a small gain, but a gain nonetheless.

Piz Buin’s new Allergy product is designed for those with sensitive skin.
The pharmacy channel was especially strong, with sales of approximately $155 million and 8 million units. A key channel with Italian consumers, pharmacies specialize in selling baby and children sun care products and a wide variety of self-tanning lines and often see a spike in sales as the summer season approaches.

Manufacturers are always looking for ways to be innovative in this market and the latest trend in Italy is for what has been termed, “sun supplements.”

Last year, L’Oréal Paris launched its Solar Expertise food supplements to internally fight the negative effects of UVA and UVB rays. Capsules should be taken four weeks before sun exposure and then once a day during and after sun exposure. They feature active antioxidants and probiotics, which are said to protect the skin from UV rays while beta carotene and lycopene claim to maintain and improve skin quality.

According to data from IRI Spain, sun care product sales rose 4% last year to $223 million. About 75% of sales come through the ever-strengthening mass-market channel. The credit crunch has boosted sales of own label brands due to their cost effectiveness.

That said, international brands are still holding their own. Johnson & Johnson’s Piz Buin is very popular in Spain where it is sold primarily in pharmacies. Piz Buin recently introduced Allergy, a full range of sun care products for sensitive skin. Available in spray and facial cream variants in both SPF 15 and SPF 30, the products incorporate calmanelle, a potent antioxidant, to strengthen skin’s defense against UV rays and increase sun tolerance. In other developments, Piz Buin’s Active Sunscreens are based on the most advanced UVA/UVB helioplex protection complex to “meet the demands of an active lifestyle in the sun,” which is particularly relevant to Spanish consumers.

A Break in the Cloud

The UK sun care market, which has experienced somewhat dark fortunes in the past, also saw the sun shine on it in 2009. According to data from Kantar Worldpanel, UK sun care sales rose 5.7% to $329 million last year on a volume gain of 6.3% to 37.48 million units.

The always-popular sun protection category, which includes milks, lotions and creams, took the lion’s share of the sector at 80.1% followed by after-sun products and self-tanning products, respectively.

One popular brand with UK consumers is Clinique, which many UK consumers trust when it comes to sun care because of its “doctor” heritage. The company had a relaunch in the UK last year, reformulating its sun care range with SolarSmart Technology, which offers 3:1 UV protection, meaning the UVB protection is three times proportional to that of the UVA protection. The newest Clinique product, set to hit shelves next month, is the SPF 35 Targeted Solution Stick, which targets areas of the face that are often neglected when it comes to sun protection such as lips, under the eyes and around the ears. The stick contains vitamin E to try to protect the skin from free radical damage.

In general, the Big 5 countries go into the summer season this year with lots to feel cheerful about. Their sun care markets, with the exception of Germany, are on the rise and hopefully the raft of new products and the sun care education campaigns accessible to consumers will only help to make this a brighter, more educated and most importantly, more protected sector in the future.

About European Cosmetic Markets
European Cosmetic Markets is published monthly by HPCi Media Limited. It provides in-depth data and analysis of the European cosmetics and toiletries market. For subscription details contact HPCi Media Limited, Tel: (44) 0207 193 7447 • Fax: (44) 20 7549 8622