Niche SPFs are shaking up the sun care market

By Amanda Pauley | Published: 11-Jul-2024

From sunscreen created for specific skin needs to bespoke campaigns that target select sport communities, this is why brands are getting much more personalised

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The sun care industry is entering its niche era, ditching a typical one-size-fits-all approach to SPF in favour of new-age product formats and marketing stunts aimed at specific consumer groups. 

It is a smart move when competition is fierce and the industry is continuing to grow rapidly. 

The global sun care products market was valued at US$14.1bn in 2023, reported data intelligence firm Spherical Insights & Consulting, and is forecasted to soar to $20.50bn by 2033.

Niche product development and marketing campaigns could therefore be a crucial differentiator going forward, helping brands to stand apart from other companies who are fighting for the same consumer spend. 

Both established and smaller players are experimenting too, with dry skin specialist E45 creating an SPF line specifically for eczema-prone skin, to body care brand Sol de Janeiro breaking into the sun care market with a scent that taps into the nostalgia trend.

SPF doesn’t have to be an old-fashioned cream or spray, and retailers are loving this because they need something different to sell

Tackling traditional barriers to use in unexpected formats is another way brands are trying to gain favour, ditching big cream bottles and spray cans for stick SPFs, which are handbag-friendly and packed with skin care-friendly ingredients to boot. 

Shiseido, meanwhile, has invested in more specific marketing of its sunscreens rather than niche R&D, hosting events for certain groups in the sports community who could benefit from decent SPF protection.

The Japanese beauty giant held two VIP ‘Shiseido Ultimate Sun Club’ events – a spin on the classic country club – in June to promote its latest Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion to golfers. 

“The world is not waiting for another sunscreen because it has already got loads of them, so brands have got to get clever, right?,” explains Jeanine Recckio, Beauty Futurologist and CEO of trend forecaster Mirror Mirror Imagination Group. 

“The sun care world is so highly regulated that it has not really been allowed to do a lot for many years.

“When you look at the category, there is kind of nowhere else to go because it is not like there is going to be this new holy grail of ingredients or claims coming out. 

“And I think that is what a lot of these viral and progressive brands have decided to do – they have got clever in format and marketing.” 

Stick format SPFs like Grow Recipe's Watermelon Glow Dew Balm SPF 30 are growing in popularity

Stick format SPFs like Grow Recipe's Watermelon Glow Dew Balm SPF 30 are growing in popularity

Mess-free application

Sunscreen sticks are a format especially growing in popularity,

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