Education, product innovation light up sun care segment


Sun protection is one of the few categories in the mature U.S. cosmetics and toiletries market that has a relatively low household penetration. But that is changing thanks to increased consumer education on the sun’s harmful effects and product innovation in mass market products.

According to Euromonitor International’s 2009 U.S. Sun Care report, sun care, with 7% value growth, was the fastest-growing U.S. cosmetics and toiletries sector in 2008 for the fourth year in a row.

Looking ahead, sun protection—which accounts for more than 80% of total sun care sales—is expected to drive value growth. Mass sun care is predicted to outperform premium products, with a 2% constant value compound annual growth rate, compared with an annual average decline of 1% for premium products.

In looking at the category’s growth, it is clear that efforts by dermatologists, manufacturers, campaigners and consumer media warning people about the risks of skin cancer and premature aging through sun exposure are paying off. In addition to educational efforts, product innovation by mass market manufacturers also is fueling the segment.

Retailers also are taking an active role in driving sales. For example, Walmart has expanded the placement of sun care products going from one stand-alone display to four or five throughout the store, noted SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst William Chappell in a recent research note. Also, Bullfrog products were positioned, for the first time, on an in-aisle display.

“The seasonal sun care aisle has returned to Walmart, and we noticed several interesting items during our store checks, including no change in private-label shelf space, enhanced placement for Bullfrog and proliferation of high-SPF lotions and sprays,” Chappell stated.

On the manufacturer front, there has been some recent activity. Schering-Plough has introduced its new Coppertone NutraShield with Dual Defense, a new line of sunscreens enriched with antioxidants to help promote natural skin repair by neutralizing harmful free radicals created by UV exposure.

Sierra Summits High Altitude Adventure Sunscreen recently expanded distribution in Northern California Raley’s stores. It also began a sampling program at select stores in the area and educated consumers through in-store demonstrations. The sunscreen is the first to earn the Melanoma International Foundation Seal of Approval, the company stated.

Taking a different approach is UVSunSense with its new UVSunSense wristband that serves as a sun-sensitive gauge. The wristband changes color to let the wearer know when it is time to reapply sunscreen or to get out of the sun.

Meanwhile, such brands as La Roche-Posay continue to partner with foundations to drive consumer awareness. La Roche-Posay recently donated more than $25,000 worth of Anthelios SX daily moisturizing cream with SPF 15 to The Skin Care Foundation to be distributed in communities across the country.

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