“Asian consumers place high importance on sunscreen and have made decent efforts to avoid the sun,” highlighted Jane Jang, Senior Beauty Analyst, Mintel.
However, despite this trend ‘becoming the norm’, as reported by Mintel, “wearing sunscreen is only a part of these efforts” in the Asian marketplace. Consumers invest in many others forms of traditional sun protection such as putting on sun hats, gloves, masks and using sun parasols.
“Consumers in Asia choose to do this because they want to keep the skin fair—which is considered the ideal beauty standard in Asia—while sun protection also avoids photoageing,” added Jang.
Skin whitening impact?
The skin whitening trend is typically synonymous with Asia. Self-tanning is, therefore, not often associated with the needs and desires of beauty buyers in the region. Sharon Kwek, Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst, beauty and personal care, Mintel, endorsed this view by commenting that “fake tanning in Asia is probably a thing of the past.”
In the Asian marketplace, Jang emphasised that gaining a suntan is not part of the desirable aesthetic beauty regime, and so “consumers aren’t under the sun long enough to need aftersun care”. As a result, “the ‘aftersun’ segment remains niche”.
Asia versus Oceania
However, there is seemingly a divide, in the Asia-Pacific region, between the uptake of skin whitening products and applications in Asia, and those in Oceania.
“Meanwhile in Australia and New Zealand, consumers adopt a usage pattern to sun care alike to European and American consumers who enjoy sun tanning, and apply aftersun care,” Jang explained.
Commenting on how the aftersun care trend can co-exist with skin whitening trends in the two regions, Jang highlighted: “The desire for whitening among consumers has attributed to the sheer size of Asia’s aftersun market.”
Top sunscreen markets
Alternatively, this consumer behaviour has driven the surge in sunscreen buyers in Northeast Asia, and today, China, Japan and South Korea are three of the world’s top five sunscreen markets around the globe.
Despite these three countries seeing high demand for sun protection, “there are virtually no aftersun care products in the market”, Mintel reported.
Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) revealed that aftersun care goods accounted for only 5% of all sun care launches in Asia between 2014 and 2016.
However, the shift is starting to taking shape, and the natural segment is contributing significantly to its uptake.
The second instalment of our interview with Jane Jang, Senior Beauty Analyst, will be published on Wednesday 10th January 2017.