4 New Sunscreen Trends for 2020

Early spring is the perfect time for sunscreen

Sunscreen is becoming one of the most rapidly growing segments in the cosmetics market and its momentum is expected to keep pace in the next three years. 

Driven by increases in Chinese people’s disposable income in recent years, outdoor activities,travels, and a stronger awareness of skin care, have catapulted the sunscreen segment in China.

According to statistics, the annual compound growth rate of the sunscreen market in China from 2012 to 2016 was at 8.1% and the value amounted to RMB 5.535 billion in 2016, representing 1.7% of the total cosmetics market. The sales of sunscreen products are expected to reach RMB 8.236 billion in 2021, with the compound growth rate at approximately 8.27%.


However, compare to United Kingdom, United States and South Korea, the sunscreen market in China is still in its infancy. The statistical data from Kantar indicates that with a 76% overall penetration rate of cosmetics, sunscreen products witnessed only a 16% in China for the year 2019, while the figures in France, United Kingdom and South Korea were 28%, 31 %, and 57% respectively.

The Chinese sunscreen market boasts huge growth potential.

Recently, Tmall Global, in conjunction with Kantar, released the Report on Decoding the New Age of Sun Protection Products for Chinese Consumers, which highlights new sunscreen trends of the future based on the 2019 data on Chinese sunscreen market, for new occasions, functions, types and consumer groups. In particular, blue light blocking, hydration, anti-aging and pollution prevention, are the most eye-catching.

New Occasions: Indoor Blue Light Blocking, and Outdoor Sun Protection
  • Indoor Blue Light Blocking: Increasingly awareness of blue light blocking, consumers are looking for blue light blocking products.

In this age of science and technology, blue light is everywhere, and people are constantly surrounded by it. Statistics show that the average time spent on mobile apps by Chinese cellphone users on a daily basis in the fourth quarter of 2019 was up by 16% when compared to the same time in the previous year. The longer people use electronic devices, the more harm their eyes and skin are exposed to the blue light.

Therefore, the market for blue light blocking has soared, and in 2019 more and more shoppers are searching for blue light blocking products online.

Blue light blocking products are now an emerging segment in the sunscreen market. Many cosmetics companies and brands are launching anti-blue light products, such as ISDIN, Neutrogena and Supergoop, respectively with claims to reduce discoloration caused by blue light, to guard the skin against blue light with 8 compound sunscreen ingredients and to protect the skin against any potential harm from blue light.

  • Outdoor Sunscreen Needs: Wider spectrum of outdoor activities, professional sunscreen products are hotly sought after.

In the past two years, the size of the Chinese outdoor sports market has increased from RMB 1,901.1 billion in 2017 to RMB 2,657.9 billion, because people are interested in a much wider range of outdoor activities. Increased interest in outdoor sports and activities are pushing for more specialized and segmented sunscreen products.

In the future, portable sunscreen products that can be used on different occasions such as outdoor activities, as well as protection from more demanding conditions, such as a scorching sun, heat and strong winds, will be very popular.



New Functions: Skin Nourishment and Pollution Blocking

  • Skin Nourishing Products: Driven by growing market needs, is taking shape.

In 2019, skin nourishing products experienced a considerate growth rate of 19%, almost doubling that of the entire sunscreen category. New middle-class people are the core purchasers of skin nourishing products, and the money they spent on skin nourishing products are three times the overall category of sunscreen.

In addition, the public is looking for diversified functions of skin nourishing products, such as hydration, moisturizing, whitening, oil control, and anti-aging. Among them, hydration and moisturizing are the basic needs, while the demand for age repair has grown the fastest.​

  • Pollution Blocking: Urbanization contributes to people’s awareness of protection against pollution, and the need for anti-pollution sunscreens.

Many cities in China are on the list of the 100 most severely polluted cities in the world.  As Chinese consumers’ awareness of pollution prevention increases, anti-pollution products have become necessities. In addition to face masks and air purifiers, anti-pollution sunscreens are also capturing attention.

New Types: Sunscreen Brushes & Mousses

  • Sunscreen Brushes and Mousses: New sunscreen type for different occasions.

Sunscreen lotion/cream and sunscreen sprays are the two most common sunscreen product types in the domestic market. Compared with these two traditional forms, sunscreen brushes and sunscreen mousses can be regarded as “new favorites” in the market. Sunscreen brushes provide a more portable sunscreen form for post-makeup use, while sunscreen mousses allows for faster penetration.

Data shows that purchases of new forms of sunscreen products in 2019 accounted for 26% of the total, representing an increase of 3% when compared to 2017.



New Consumer Groups: Children & Pregnant Women

  • Children & Pregnant Women: have strong needs for personalized products, becoming a new direction for category expansion.

According to statistics, the growth rate of purchases in skincare products by pregnant women is four times more than female consumers. As a result, an increasing number of sunscreen brands are pursuing pregnant women and children as their top two priorities. Of the top 20 sunscreen brands available in the market, 45% now have their own sunscreen lines specially designed and developed for children.

"The rapid rise of Chinese consumers’ awareness of sun protection promises huge market potentials,” said Yu Jian, General Manager of Kantar Consumer Index Greater China. He believes that beauty brands can beat others to secure their footholds in the sun protection market by meeting new needs.


Report Source: Tmall & Kantar