According to Euromonitor, Eastern European sun care sales jumped 8.1% last year to $281.5 million. Russia was the primary growth driver, with sales recovering from a slight decline in 2016 to surge ahead by 14.4% in 2017. Western Europe sun care sales turned the corner in 2017 with a 2.2% increase to more than $2.8 billion. Spain led the charge, with a sales gain of 6.6%, followed by Germany, up 4.4% and France, up 3.2% year on year. Only the UK registered a decline in sales of 0.8%, though this was a marked improvement on the previous drop of 9.9% in 2016.
In comparing global sun care claims in 2017 versus Europe, Mintel’s GNPD has noted that European product launches have a stronger dermo-cosmetic narrative, with a higher percentage of products promoting “dermatologically tested” and “for sensitive skin” claims. This is reflected in the increase in dermatologically oriented claims in Europe between 2014 and 2017.
“Europeans also have a pique interest for products that are faster acting,” commented David Tyrell, Mintel’s global skin care analyst. For example, Vichy Ideal Soleil Hydrating SPF30 Protective Solar Water is a very high broad spectrum fast-absorbing sun care spray formulated with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump skin.
Moving Beyond UV Protection
Mintel research has identified photoaging as a real concern for consumers as it moves beyond awareness of skin damage by ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB) to full light protection and blue light protection.
“Blue light protect claims will grow globally from its Japanese origins,” said Tyrell. “It will expand beyond protection from the sun to include protection against the aging effects of blue light from smart phones and other gadgetry used by younger consumers across the globe.”
An example from Mintel’s GNPD database is NIOD Survival 30 High UV Protection SPF30/PA+++, a lightweight, textured product claiming to tackle an array of environmental insults and “lifestyle-related assaults” including pollution, stress, blue light and UV exposure.
According to GlobalData, more products promise to repair sun-damaged skin.
“Protection during the day and repair at night creates an opportunity to provide complete, around the clock protection,” stated Jamie Mills, analyst GlobalData.
An example of this approach is Una Brennan’s Super Facialist Sleep & Reveal Night Cream featuring high levels of vitamin C and tomato and licorice extracts that are designed to help skin recover from daytime sun exposure and environmental aggressors. An organic route to after-exposure care is Organic Nation’s Enlighten3 Skintone Serum featuring African bearberry and licorice root as a way of removing age spots and skin discoloration from skin damage.
Air pollution in Europe has become a highly topical issue with an EU court ruling that Poland has breached European standards of air pollution. Meanwhile, Germany is considering a ban on diesel cars in major cities to reduce air pollution and, in the UK, London has been found to exceed World Health Organization limits for air pollution particles. All this points to an opportunity for anti-pollution claims in sun care, following a similar trend in skin care. One such example is Clarins UV+ Anti Pollution SPF50 sunscreen that claims to protect against UV rays, free radicals and pollution and targets urban-based consumers as well as those who take part in outdoor sports.
Environmental concerns, particularly the more recent issue of plastics polluting the oceans, have also been heightened following UK naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough’s Blue Planet BBC television series, which showed the damage caused by plastics on marine life.
“Consumers are not simply satisfied with a ‘great beauty product,’” noted Tyrell, “they expect the brand to voice who they are and where they stand. More consumers will look to brands to push eco-friendly formulas and recyclable or nature compatible packaging materials that can help clean up the oceans and the planet overall.”
Biotherm Waterlover Sun Milk SPF15 is tapping into the trend with a formulation that is described as “respectful of aquatic life” and has a 95% biodegradable base formula for “a lower impact on the water environment to help keep the ocean and the beach clean.”
Usage of smart tools to manage sun exposure is on the rise in Europe, increasing from 6% in 2015 to 10% in 2017, according to GlobalData’s primary consumer research. The increase is more significant among millennials aged 18-25 with 14% claiming to use smart tools to monitor sun exposure, compared to just 7% in 2015.
L’Oréal is ahead of the game with its mobile phone connected UV Sense wearable patch which captures real-time data to track UV exposure levels and provides safety tips.
“In the future, more integrated wearables which provide multiple functions, for example fitness tracking as well as UV and pollution exposure tracking, could offer an all-in-one solution…through a single wearable item,” comments Mills.
Mintel has seen the transition of smart-active packaging to include QR, NFC, BLE and others “from fun to functional.”
“We’re seeing a shift toward ‘functional,’ where packaging needs to give information or opportunities that offer a benefit of engagement,” noted David Luttenberger, global packaging director at Mintel. “Brands that use smart/active and mobile engagement packaging to deliver functionality versus fun are more likely to find satisfied customers.”
European sun care habits are changing as consumers think beyond the immediate concerns of protecting their skin from sun exposure toward the long-term impact that using sun care products may have on their bodies as well as environment. The changing demands of these consumers will influence future development in the category.
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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.