According to Datamonitor, European sales of sun care products grew 4.7% in 2014 to reach $3.0 billion. The leading country in value terms was Italy, where sun care sales reached $651.8 million; that’s double the size of France and the UK, which both posted sales in excess of $300 million. However, the fastest growing market was Russia, where sun care sales raced ahead by 10.9% to reach $192 million.
Sun protection products accounted for nearly three quarter of European sun care sales and were valued at $2.2 billion last year, with growth of 4.9% year on year. The remainder was divided between after-sun products, worth $449 million and self-tanners at $376 million. The most enthusiastic users of self-tanning products were UK consumers, but their recent love affair with faux tans may be waning, as the category grew by just 2.4% in 2014 to nearly $93 million. The latest Kantar Worldpanel usage data points to another possible explanation: UK consumers use tinted moisturizer and bronzers on average 3.9 and 3.3 times a week, respectively, suggesting a preference for wash-off products.
High protection sun care featuring SPF30-50 are favored by the majority of European consumers. According to Mintel, 51% of Spanish consumers opt for high levels of sun protection, followed by 42% of UK consumers. However, not all Europeans take high sun protection as seriously: 43% of Italian consumers have used products of SPF15 or lower and say they would use them again.
Multifunctionality a Must
In the wider beauty market, the alphabet trend has piqued consumers’ interest with products that offer convenience, ease of use and cost effective solutions. Most BB and CC creams include sun protection, sometimes as high as SPF50, and could be perceived as a quick all-in-one alternative to using a separate sun protection product. However, efficacy credentials are often perceived as weaker in such products due to the perception that individual functions may become diluted when combined in a single formula.
According to Datamonitor Consumer’s 2014 Q4 global survey, consumers tend to be more skeptical of products that boast too many benefits. Only 13% of European consumers agreed that the greatest benefit of multifunctional beauty and grooming products was that they were more effective, which bodes well for single function sun care solutions.
“Nevertheless, as multifunctional products become more effective in order to cater to increasingly efficacy-driven consumers, this will definitely force single function brands to reassess their product offerings in terms of how else they can add value and differentiate for the consumer,” noted Jamie Mills, associate analyst, Datamonitor.
Sun care brands cannot afford to rely on single functionality, but must respond to consumers’ growing desire for products that offer multiple benefits. Datamonitor’s research highlights that “best value for money” and “ease of use and application” were the top two factors European consumers deemed most influential in their sun care product choices.
A Shift Is On
Traditionally, sun protection has had a strong health-oriented focus around protecting consumers from sunburn and preventing skin cancers. Many consumers use sun protection when on holiday or when spending long periods of time outside in the sun. Datamonitor Consumer’s 2014 Q4 survey confirms this fact, with just over half of European consumers claiming to use sun care products just a few times a year. However, three in five Europeans acknowledged that spending less time in the sun is effective in making them look younger. It seems that consumers are accepting the message that UV exposure is the main cause of skin aging and they are prepared to take measures to use products that provide anti-aging benefits.
“This has therefore created a new angle to sun protection by shifting the dialogue to include beauty as well as health within sun care,” stated Mills.
The anti-aging claim in sun care is an important one, according to Mintel researchers, who note that there has been an increasing number of such launches on its global new products database.
Recent examples of launches include:
- Ordinary Day Cream SPF30 is positioned for face and body and combines sun protection with co-enzyme Q10 to provide anti-inflammatory antioxidant protection (from green rooibos and grapeseed oil) that also helps inhibit skin aging. • Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control Cream for Face UVB/UVA 50+ is a specialist sun protector and anti-aging product in one, for the face and décolleté, which claims to work against the formation of sun-induced age spots.
- Greek brand Korres has brought out Red Grape Anti-Aging Anti-Spot Sunscreen Face Cream SPF50, which is said to prevent photo-aging and the appearance of brown spots. Curcuma longa root is the active ingredient that regulates the formation of melanin and has a protective action against dark spots.
The crossover between sun care and other beauty categories will only increase, as consumers look for UV protection properties across all the products they use. Hair care, lip care and nail care are all areas that are ripe for expansion and brands are already moving into that space.
For example, Kérastase Soleil CC Crème is a care product for hair that is designed to protect, repair and illuminate the hair before, during and after sun exposure. Aesop Protective Lip Balm SPF 30, is an all-natural formulation that offers broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. Orly BB Crème is probably the first BB cream for nails that contains UV filters to prevent nail discoloration and is said to whiten, brighten, smooth and protect nails.
Finally, Clarins, the leading European premium sun care brand, has launched a product that taps into the trend for customized beauty. New Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster is a described as a “made to measure self tan,” consisting of a self-tan concentrate that is mixed with the user’s regular day or night cream to provide a natural-looking glow to the skin.
At this rate, it won’t be long before a consumer is slapping sun care products on to her face and the body, as well as lips and tips, as Charles Revson once said.
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Imogen Matthews is a respected consultant, journalist and researcher focusing on trends in the beauty industry. She regularly contributes to many of the world’s foremost beauty trade titles. Every year in April, she publishes The Premium Market Report, focusing on trends in the UK premium beauty markets.