According to market intelligence agency Mintel, sunscreen usage in India is at a “nascent stage” because of the lack of consumer awareness.
Only 25% of consumers reported that they had an understanding of terms such as sun protection factor (SPF) and protection grade (PA) of UVA rays.
The report also highlighted that 24% only used products on sunny days and 27% only apply sunscreen if they have to leave the house.
“Not only do consumers not understand the terms used in sunscreen, or the appropriate quantity of sunscreen required for adequate protection, but the concept of reapplication is not clearly communicated by brands… even if consumers are using sunscreen, they are most likely not using enough, both in terms of frequency of application and amount of product, to get adequate sun protection.” said Minu Srivastava, beauty and personal care analyst, India at Mintel.
Along with lifestyle stress protection, anti-pollution is also rapidly becoming a common theme among personal care products.
The growing concern about the negative effects of pollution is driving 29% of consumers to seek cosmetics with that carry anti-pollution claims.
"With rising pollution levels across the country, some skincare brands are already incorporating anti-pollution claims, but the sun care category seems to lag in this regard. The sun care category is most connected with skin damage, but incorporating anti-pollution and blue light protection claims has the potential to be well-received by consumers,” said Srivastava.
However, blue light protection is still niched in India and brands will need to educate and offer guidance on the topic, she said Srivastava.
“There is an opportunity for brands to educate consumers and gain trust by offering guidance on this topic. These added benefits and innovations can elevate products' benefits and drive usage.”
According to Mintel, 17% of sun care users expressed interest in sun care products that protect from screen emitted artificial screen-emitted light, suggesting that consumers may prefer to use multifunctional products rather than a dedicated sunscreen.
The research also suggested that there are opportunities for colour cosmetics with sun protection claims. It reported that 11% of sun care users have used makeup with SPF and 14% indicated interested in sun screen products in a powder format.
According to the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), 16% of face colour cosmetics like foundation and highlighters, and 9% of lip colour products launched between June 2016 and 2019 carried UV protection claims.
"Our product innovation research indicates that the makeup category is blurring with consumers seeking additional benefits when looking for cosmetics. For example, sun care products in a powder format would serve the dual purpose of sun protection as well as makeup benefits. Brands have an opportunity to offer product segmentation to focus on hybrid products with both skincare and makeup benefits to effectively cater to different usage scenarios and consumer demands," said Srivastava.
She stressed, however, that consumers who look for multi-functional benefits will need to be assured that the primary function of sun protection is not compromised.
Additionally, brands will need to place more emphasis on sun care education, she added.
"It is important to educate consumers about the usage and re-application of sun care products. Brands need clear, educational campaigns about the potential side effects of UV exposure. Impactful imagery, shocking statistics and scientific facts can be used in retail displays and on product packs to grab consumers' attention and get the message across effectively.”
After-sun care potentials
Srivastava highlighted that the opportunities in sun care extend to post-sun care products as well.
Only 4.4% of products were launched with after sun care claims between January 2016 and December 2018, but 24% of sun screen users said they were interested in post-sun care products that had “cooling effects”.
Srivastava said: “A whitespace opportunity exists for brands to target non-sunscreen users with post-sun exposure products that offer cooling benefits. Brands can venture into after-sun care products with ingredients that offer cooling benefits, like aloe vera, and highlight claims such as 'contains DNA repair enzymes' or 'helps rebuild the epidermis' on the pack. These claims need to be backed up with wider marketing campaigns that educate consumers.”