Laurie Du
Laurie is Mintel's Senior Beauty Analyst based in Shanghai. She provides insights on the Chinese beauty market, consumer behavioural trends and new product development.

Following in the footsteps of the beauty and personal care industry, the suncare category in China is exploding with success as Mintel estimates show double-digit growth for the market in retail value over the past few years.

Mintel research reveals that over half of Chinese consumers agree that ‘long-lasting protection’ is one factor that influences their suncare product purchase. This is also reflected in new product launches; according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), new suncare product launches in China with ‘long-lasting’ claims or high-SPFs have grown significantly between 2016 and 2018.

Make reapplication easier

While long-lasting protection is important, awareness of the need to regularly reapply sunscreen is also developing among Chinese consumers. Mintel research shows that more than half of female sunscreen consumers often reapply when going out. This has placed more pressure on brands to develop easy-to-reapply products with innovative textures, packaging and a ‘light’ feel on the skin. In light of this, China has seen a rise in the number of sunscreen products launched in spray and mist format, according to Mintel GNPD.

Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Spray SPF 50+ PA++++, China
This product retails in a convenient, easy-to-use spray format, and features a lightweight and breathable formula which claims to work well with the mineral elements found in water and sweat.

Upgrade and expand protection

Broadening the types of protection that suncare products can offer may be the way to go for beauty companies and manufacturers.

According to Mintel research, Chinese consumers perceive sunscreens to be the most relevant category for anti-pollution claims. In fact, they have expressed that they are willing to pay more for sunscreen with anti-pollution benefits. This is elevating opportunities for suncare and skincare brands.

Not just considering the effect of outdoor pollution, there is also potential in the near future for sunscreen formulations to include indoor risks from blue light.

Heliocare 360° Gel Oil-Free High Protection Cream, Spain (Source: Tmall)
This product is said to protect skin against outdoor UVA and UVB light, as well as indoor infrared light (from LED lights and digital device screens).

The market for sunscreen-removal products

The growth in demand for long-lasting sunscreens also creates new opportunities for associated products. Long-lasting protection sunscreen, especially with sweatproof and waterproof benefits, requires more powerful cleansing when removing the product at the end of the day.

There are already some launches in the facial care category that feature sunscreen-removal functions. However, there are no notable mainstream body cleansers for sunscreen in China, which has left an opportunity to fill this gap in the market and to educate consumers on how to properly cleanse themselves of sunscreen residue.

Eucerin Skin Calming Body Wash, USA
Although the product is not specifically designed for removing sunscreen residue, it triggers a process similar to the thorough skin cleansing of makeup-removing products.