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It is a widespread misconception that suncare products are only needed when going out in the sun. Indeed, according to the latest research by Mintel, the experts in what consumers want and why, the top two reasons why consumers say they do not use suncare products or do not intend to use them in future are because they stay indoors most of the time (39%)* and they do not stay out in the sun long enough (33%). Furthermore, a quarter (24%) of Indian consumers don’t use or don’t intend to use suncare because they consider applying a suncare product an unnecessary step in their skincare routine.

Tanya Rajani, India Beauty and Personal Care Analyst, Mintel, said:

“Lack of consumer knowledge surrounding skincare and the misconception that if they are not exposed to the sun they don’t need to use suncare or skin protection products is the top reason why we see low usage in this category. With consumers staying indoors as a result of COVID-19, but spending more time online, suncare brands have the opportunity to take the role of an educator to broaden the communication on skin protection. Brands can amplify education around the daily need for suncare and skin protection even when staying indoors due to wider environmental aggressors. Brands can add lifestyle relevance with skin protection claims against indoor pollution, indoor lights, and blue lights from electronic devices to cater to stay-home lifestyles.”

Leveraging claims beyond UV protection

Facial skincare and face colour cosmetics categories are both carrying SPF claims, threatening suncare’s turf. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), in India, the suncare contribution to UV protection claim under skincare has dropped from 42% in 2019 to 25% in 2020, whereas facial skincare with such claim became more prominent from 26% in 2019 to 35% in 2020. Also, over a third (34%) of consumers** say makeup products with SPF gives them enough protection against the sun.

“With a significant percentage of beauty and personal care categories, such as facial skincare, including UV protection in their product claims, this is eating into the consumer need for suncare products. Suncare brands need to defend their turf through further innovation in claims, textures and formats to increase their importance in the eyes of Indian consumers. Sunscreen innovations that expand beyond UV protection and include skincare claims like moisturising and whitening or brightening can help make suncare more vital to one’s skincare regime. Brands can also look at developing hybrid concepts that merge suncare and makeup to help protect the suncare category from face colour cosmetics brands carrying SPF claims.”

Opportunity to offer additional skincare benefits

Mintel research highlights that close to a third (31%) of consumers say they are willing to pay more for suncare products with skincare benefits and this goes up to 41% among women aged 25-34. Consumers have used both face cream with anti-pollution benefits (44%) and face cream with blue light defence (39%), and they intend to use these products in the future.

“Multi-functional suncare presents gaps to incorporate various skincare claims such as anti-ageing and brightening, making products more appealing to multi-functional buyers. Offering multi-functional is also a way to enhance the value of products, making consumers feel they are getting a better return for their investment. Moreover, brands can amp up communication around indoor pollution or dust protection, which are equally prevalent in homes, and build the need to protect against unconventional aggressors such as blue light.”

Mintel commissioned consumer research among 3,000 internet users aged 18+ in October 2020.

*2,645 Indian consumers aged 18+ who have not used suncare product in the last 6 months or who do not intend to use it in the future, October 2020

**1,412 Indian women consumers aged 18+ who have used a skincare and/or suncare product in the last 6 months, October 2020