Self-tanner sales have struggled over the past five years due to waning consumer interest as consumers sought more natural-looking tans, not to mention the negative perceptions the product carries. However, higher than average temperatures during the summer of 2016 resulted in sun protection and sunless tanner sales gains of nearly 6% as sun exposure was more relevant and top-of-mind. As concerns about the risks from sun exposure continue to rise among consumers, global launches of skincare products claiming infrared protection have increased to 25% in 2016 from just 10% in 2011, according to Mintel Global New Product Database (GNPD).

With warm weather just around the corner, brands have launched a stream of new sunless tanner products, attempting to capture the attention of consumers in time for the upcoming summer season:tanner

  • TanMeBox capitalizes on the trendy subscription service model shipping users sunless tanner every month beginning at $42.95 per month. Products are touted as being natural, organic and vegan.
  • CLEANTAN is a concentrated tanning liquid that users apply by adding a few drops of the product to their existing lotion. CLEANTAN differentiates itself by offering customizable color, giving users the control to add as much or as little of the product in order to achieve their desired tan level. Natural-positioning also boosts the brand’s appeal.
  • Tan-Luxe launched Hydra Mousse, which claims to be the first clear tanning lotion. According to the brand, the clear formula allows for a better, more natural looking tan.

Only one quarter of consumers report regular use of sunless tanners

What we think

There is a stigma attached to sunless tanning products, with consumers believing that they don’t look natural. Indeed, tanning products and sunless tanners are used by a niche set of consumers, with only one quarter reporting regular use and just over half reporting any usage, according Mintel’s Sun Protection and Sunless Tanners US 2016 report. A preference for natural-looking tans can bode well for products touting natural-looking claims, such as Tan-Luxe’s Hydra Mousse.

Mintel Trend “Straight to You” describes how consumers are expecting products and services to be brought directly to them, wherever they are, boosting the appeal of subscription service offerings. TanMeBox automates the purchasing process for sunless tanners, which could increase consumer loyalty.

Natural positioning from TanMeBox and CLEANTAN will also likely appeal to ingredient-conscious consumers as nearly one in five sunscreen users think that sunscreen ingredients are unsafe for their health, and one in 10 believe that sunscreen ingredients aren’t safe for the environment.

Margie Nanninga is a Beauty Analyst at Mintel and a member of the US Reports team. Her diverse background, which includes qualitative research and data analysis, allows her to spot patterns and trends in the market and create actionable recommendations across beauty, home and personal care topics.

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