However, younger generations of consumers in the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly embracing sun care options as an alternative to covering up.
And as a result, there is the potential for healthy growth in the sun care segment in the region. Mintel estimates that the sun care market in the Asia-Pacific region will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7% between 2019 and 2021. China, along with India and Indonesia, will be the main drivers of this growth. According to Suddhanya Gisbert Vazquez, insight analyst at Mintel, there is plenty of room for innovation and brand extension in the segment.
“There are opportunities for beauty and personal care companies and brands to explore sun care innovations that cross over to skin care and body care, which will open up more opportunities for them to highlight to consumers the potential skin damage that one will attain from a lack of sun protection,” she told Happi. “This will drive the growth of the sun care market in Asia as well as other subcategories where sun protection has the potential to play out.”
Among these subcategories is proper sunscreen removal, which Gisbert Vazquez pinpoints as “another area that will trigger new ideas and innovations.”
Clean Beauty Trend
While not unique to the Asian market, the clean beauty trend—the concept that products should contain only safe, non-toxic ingredients—will also play a large part, according to the Mintel analyst.
“With consumers’ increasing attention to safety, this will drive the sun care category to innovate with more natural and free-of-any-harmful ingredients, pushing companies to develop formulations that are safe for people and the environment,” said Vasquez.
And yet, beauty brands are being advised to look beyond the obvious when developing sun care products for the Asian market.
“It’s important to note that it’s not just skin damage from the sun that Asian consumers are concerned about; pollution is also at the forefront,” the Mintel analyst advised.
According to the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, 92% of the Asia-Pacific population is exposed to levels of air pollution that pose a significant risk to their health.
“This highlights the opportunity for companies and brands to develop products that protect and nourish skin that has been exposed to both the sun and pollution,” Vazquez added.
When formulating for certain Asian markets, humidity is also an issue for beauty players to address.
“Companies and brands can also diversify on textures and formats to meet the different needs and preferences of Asian consumers, increasing usage frequency as well as encouraging reapplication,” the market expert told this publication.
Where the weather tends to be humid or during the height of the summer season, brands can innovate with lighter formulations as well as formulas that help to reduce the effects of sunburn.
Among the better-known sun care brands in Asia is Shiseido's Anessa, a sunscreen product formulated to not only work in humid conditions, but to actually work with greater effectiveness.
“Anessa is a well-loved sun care brand from Japan known for its lightweight formula and texture that enables it to adhere closely to the skin. The technology behind the formula ensures that the sun protection function strengthens when coming into contact with sweat or water,” explained Vazquez.
There are also new launches to market that are capturing consumers’ attention.
For instance, Kao’s Bioré UV Athlizm range of sun care products claim to use a unique technology to produce a light, yet robust, outer film that helps adhere the sunscreen on the skin even under very humid conditions. In this way, it has great potential to speak right to Southeast Asian consumers living in tropical climates who are on the lookout for sun protection products that will stand up against the elements.
Eat Your Sun Care
Another extension of the sun care category in Asia is oral or edible sun care supplements. Oral sunscreen products are primarily antioxidants. Polypodium leucotomos, a plant extract which claims to protect the body internally by increasing the time the body takes to be burned by UVA and UVB rays, is among the best known.
“Beauty supplements continue to gain traction in the region and with this, we are seeing an uptick with oral sun care,” confirmed Vazquez. “Companies who have not tapped into this segment within sun care should look into this area and think about how they can introduce oral supplements that offer skin care benefits on top of sun protection,” she concluded.
Although Asian consumers are relatively new to UV protection formulas, the link between skin care and sun care is strong.
Michelle Yeomans is an award winning multimedia journalist. She has been reporting on cosmetics industry movements in EMEA, US and Asia for five years and has won an award for her coverage of the complexities of operating in the Middle East. Michelle’s passion lies in tracking the beauty culture and trends of the Asia Pacific region. Ever the AV enthusiast, she also relishes the opportunity to create engaging video and podcast content for the B2B industry.