Direction where sunscreen is shining

With the rise of skin care awareness, the demand for sunscreen continues to grow. Whether it is for whitening or anti-aging, the importance of sunscreen has never been so heightened.   

It can be said that sunscreen has become the "necessity" of skin care!

According to statistics, the market scale of sunscreens in China will reach 20 Billion RMB in 2022. However, compared with the United States, the United Kingdom, France and South Korea, China's sunscreen market is still in its infancy in terms of category penetration and market size.

However, it is predicted that the market potential of sunscreen in China will be huge, and it will be one of the highlighted categories of skin care market in the future. According to Euromonitor, the growth rate of sunscreens in China in the next eight years will be much higher than that of skin care market. China's sunscreen market may even account for more than 10% of skin care products by 2027, contributing to 23% of the overall skin care growth.


#Decoding the new trends of sunscreen in China#

The "2021 Sun Protection Trends White Paper" released by CBNData, summarized "comprehensive protection, prevention and nutrition integration, efficiency, and experience upgrade" based off new changes in the market structure and consumer demand for sun protection.

Combined with the participating brands at the 26th CBE and the winner list of "Meiyi Awards in 2021," it can be seen that with the diversified trends of China's cosmetics market and the rapid growth of sunscreen market, sunscreens present new opportunities in new settings, functions, forms, consumer groups and other aspects.


01 The demands for precise sunscreen & brand owners accelerate to expand their presence

Traditionally, sunscreen focuses on ultraviolet B (UVB) that causes sunburn on the skin surface. With the increased awareness of ultraviolet light, it is found that UVA is the "culprit" that accelerates the generation of wrinkles and causes skin relaxation and aging. Therefore, the consumption of broad-spectrum sunscreens with both UVA and UVB block functions is increasing.


Meanwhile, "anti-blue light," the blue light produced by electronic products such as computers and mobile phones have become a new trend in the sunscreen segment. Data from the White Paper shows that consumption of sunscreens with "anti-blue light" functions has increased by more than 14 times from 2018 to 2020. In addition, with the rise of outdoor activities, consumer demands for sunscreens have become more specialized and segmented, and new demands such as anti-pollution and anti-friction continue to emerge.

Shiseido SynchroShield, who recevied the TOP list of the "Meiyi Awards in 2021," is the professional advanced version of Shiseido's star sunscreen Anessa. It has stronger sun block feature and can block a variety of wavelengths of UVA and UVB to fight against light aging.

ISDIN, a smash hit, has established a "pyramid " professional and refined sunscreen matrix in terms of sun block. Zheng Yanni, general manager of ISDIN Retail and Distribution Channels, introduced at the "2021 China Cosmetics Retail Summit" held during the CBE that ISDIN "pyramid" sunscreen matrix - the top-layer Eryfotona is a sunscreen for the adjuvant treatment of skin cancer with US FDA certification, and number of patents and clinical tests. The middle-layer provides multiple layers of protection for the skin in addition to sunscreen, superimposed on the basis of high-power sunscreen with whitening, spot-fading and anti-aging effects, such as anti-light-aging sunscreen lotion. The bottom layer is a multi-dimensional light protection series suitable for various skin types and settings.


Meifubao, the number one sunscreen among domestic products for many years, has showcased its new core sunscreen - Whitening & Sun Block Cream SPF50+ PA+++ (Spot Fading) at CBE this year. According to reports, the new product adopts SolBlock and Solbooster technologies, which can provide full-spectrum protection for the skin. 

02 Sun Protection with Skin-Nourishing, Anti-aging with Skin-Moisturizing

The report Decoding the New Sunscreen Era for Chinese Consumers released by Kantar pointed out that the growth rate of skin-nourishing functional sunscreens was prominent in 2019, with a growth rate of 19%, which was twice the overall growth rate of sunscreens. CBNData's White Paper also shows that the penetration rate of online "skin-nourishing" sunscreen has increased year by year in the past three years.

Consumers' demands for multiple effects of sunscreens are mainly consist of moisturizing, whitening, oil control, and anti-aging. Among them, moisturizing is the most popular while anti-aging features the fastest growth rate and exceptional potential.

During CBE this year, ISDIN S.A's new product Spot Prevent Fusion Fluid is the only high-power sunscreen on the market that uses peptides to prevent aging. The Whitening & Sun Block Cream SPF50+ PA+++ (Spot Fading), a new product of Meifubao, also features spot fading, sunscreen and anti-ultraviolet aging. It is reported that its retail sales have exceeded RMB 50 million in the market within two months after being launched.


03 The rise of new sunscreen consumer groups & sunscreen development direction

Data shows that the growth rate of omni-channel skin care products for pregnant women in 2019 is 4 times that of women's skin care as a whole. Therefore, when sunscreen brands are deeply engaged in the consumer segmentation, pregnant women and infants becomes the first choice. According to the data analysis of the sunscreen population from January to August 2020, the Ali Strategy Center summarized the top three target consumer groups in the sunscreen field, Generation Z, exquisite mothers, and prominent white-collars.

In particular, it is worth noting that in the survey of the TOP20 sunscreen brands in the market, it was found that 45% of the brands already have exclusive sunscreens for infants and young children.


At CBE this year, it can be seen from the Mistine’s exhibition of sunscreens that the brand has subdivided the products for the differentiated needs of different groups. Among them, children's sunscreens have passed the German dermatology test and the tear-free test, which can effectively protect their delicate skin and meet their daily sun block needs.

04 From texture to appearance, sunscreen experience becoming more popular

According to survey findings, consumers not only pay attention to the sun block effect, but also the product texture, and the mention of "stickiness", "breathable", "heavy", "light" and other texture related product experience tops 20%.
The White Paper released by CBNData also said that with the advancement knowledge of sunscreen, consumers pay more attention to the user experience and added value of the sunscreens. For example, consumers are more concerned about the product being " non-white" and "smooth."

Mistine's new sunscreen for sensitive skin unveiled at the 26th CBE uses pure physical sunscreen ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are much safer and gentler. The product also added nourishing ingredients such as bisabolol, ectoine, and plant essences, which improves over the traditional sunscreens that are heavy and white.


In addition, "scented" sunscreens and "co-branded" sunscreens have a significant higher growth rate and greater potential. Consumption scale and number of consumers of online "co-branded" sunscreen doubled in 2020 according to the CBNData White Paper.


The rapid rise of Chinese consumers' awareness of sun block will surely create huge market space. It can also be seen from various reports issued by industry organizations that when sunscreen has become a "necessity" for skin care, consumers have put forward higher requirements for the efficacy, convenience, specificity, and experience of sunscreens. Sunscreen brands can only promote the iterative development of the sunscreen industry when they seize these trends and combine technology upgrades, innovative research and development, creative co-branding and other methods to launch products that are more in line with consumer needs.