Western European sun care product sales rose a scant 0.8% to about $3.1 billion, according to Euromonitor International. The bulk of sales were for sun protection products (71%), which fared slightly better than the overall market, adding 1.2%. The UK overtook Italy as the largest European market for sun care, valued at $513.3 million and $505.8 million, respectively, in 2019. Meanwhile, over in Eastern Europe, the sun care market is quite undeveloped, accounting for only $322.6 million in 2019, though sun protection products registered healthier growth of 2.7% year-on-year.
An ongoing challenge for sun care brands is to persuade consumers of the need to protect their skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Products that are quick and easy to use and do not need too frequent application are gaining in importance, according to the latest Mintel research that has noted an increase in convenience-related claims.
“In particular, there is interest in concepts that remind people to reapply their sunscreen or educate them about how to remain protected,” said Rosalie di Gesu, global beauty and personal care analyst, Mintel.
In Germany, 53% of adults agree it is difficult to remember when to reapply sun protection; in Spain, 70% say brands should provide more useage education.
“Brands can differentiate and bring extra and newer convenience benefits and concepts to market,” said Di Gesu, who recommends that brands consider linking with devices and apps to remind people to apply sunscreen. Color changing packs, which debuted in Asia, are another way to remind consumers when it is time to reapply sunscreens.
Although sprays, creams and lotions continue to drive NPD in European sun care, more disruptive and niche formats are appearing on the market, such as sticks, wipes and sheet masks. These bring added convenience as well as sensorial benefits. Recent examples from Mintel’s GNPD database include the K-Beauty Banila Co. Hello Sunny range of Essence Sun Sticks SPF50 (Germany) in bold pink, blue and yellow pack colors. The brand’s skin care formulas include on-trend birch tree and spirulina extracts to hydrate and help relieve stressed skin.
New sheet and wipe formats that offer portability and ease of use include the Ombra Sun After Sun Tissue mask made with 100% biologically degradable bamboo fibers and a soothing, hydrating witch hazel and hyaluronic acid formula. LR Wonder Company Beer Bronze Self-Tanning Wipes come in a large format that can be used on the face and body and claim to work in 15-20 minutes.
As a countertrend, di Gesu said there is enough interest for brands to align with the jelly texture trend that is prevalent across BPC markets. Payot’s Refreshing Coco Jelly tan-prolonger after-sun formula is marketed as having an indulgent, ultra-fresh whipped gel texture enriched with coconut water as well as an “ice cube” cooling effect.
Paraben-free is a claim that 31% of European consumers look for when shopping for sun care, according to GlobalData’s Q3 2019 primary consumer research. Interest is highest in Italy (53%), followed by France (47%) and Turkey (46%), according to the company.
“Consumers seek multifunctional sun care products which offer protection from environmental aggressors, including pollution as well as UV rays,” said Lia Neophytou, analyst, GlobalData, citing Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel SPF50, which claims to protect against environmental aggressors including pollution and humidity. Examples from Mintel include Dr. Docteur Renaud White Mulberry Anti-Pollution Fluid SPF 50+ with an anti-pollution shield; Dutch brand Hema’s Urban Remedy Multi Defense Cream SPF30 with Pollustop; and Oriflame Optimals Multi-Protection Urban UV Day Shield SPF30.
“The desire for added functionality is further evident in the inclusion of anti-aging skin care ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid,” explained Neophytou, who cited Italian brand, Bioearth, Sun & City Repair Aftersun, which contains hyaluronic acid and reishi mushroom extract to soothe the skin after sun exposure.
Media attention focusing on the impact that certain sun protection ingredients may have on marine life and the broader environment is driving demand for “sustainable” sun care products using alternative ingredients. However, it is mostly niche brands that are taking these messages to heart when developing formulations. Two sea-safe sun protection launches are the Ohm Collection Sun Safe Natural Sunscreen, a non-nano zinc oxide formula, and Esse Mineral Sunscreen, which also relies on nanoparticle-free zinc oxide, as well as prebiotics and probiotics to maintain a balanced skin microbiome.
“There is plenty of room to boost consumer engagement in light of high media attention and scrutiny around ingredients found in chemical sunscreens,” states di Gesu, observing that in Hawaii, octinoxate and oxybenzone are to be banned in sunscreen from 2020, due to their links to coral reef damage.
However, there is room for improvement in packaging: Mintel records that almost all sun care packs launched in Europe in the 12 months to June 2019 relied on plastic, but there are exceptions. A plastic-free example in after-sun is Scence After Sun Body Balm, which is packaged in a recyclable push-up applicator board tube.
The packaging is 100% domestically compostable. Another brand aligning with sustainability concerns is Viaiodays Organic World Secrets for Baby & Kids, which uses eco packs made from sugar cane.
Meanwhile, Neophytou highlights a new partnership between Clarins and Plastic Odyssey, which is an expedition to tackle plastic pollution and to include recycled materials in its packaging.
“This highlights an opportunity for sun protection brands to effectively communicate sustainability commitments through packaging materials and by collaborating with organizations that have this goal in common,” she states.
European sun care trends in 2020 will be hard to predict due to the global spread of the coronavirus disease since the beginning of the year. If the holiday plans of millions are severely curtailed, sales of sun care will undoubtedly suffer.
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Imogen Matthews is a respected consultant, journalist and researcher who commentates on trends in the beauty industry. She regularly contributes to many of the world’s foremost beauty trade titles, has served on the Board of Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW UK) and won the prestigious Cosmetic Executive (UK) Achiever Award. Founded by Imogen in 1993, The Premium Market Report remains the only in-depth report to examine trends in the premium cosmetics, skincare and fragrance industry.