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Maria Fernandez

How smart devices can help to expand the sun care market

Although the sun care market is forecast to see notable market growth in the upcoming years, there are important challenges to face. Increased competitiveness will force companies to put a lot of work into innovation, with technology playing a key role in expanding the market.

The suncare market has been growing for the last few years. Consumers’ worries about sun damage, with 29% of global consumers being very or extremely concerned according to Canadean’s research, have surely contributed to this trend. With these optimistic figures, more competitiveness can be expected in a segment mainly controlled by big players such as Johnson & Johnson, Beiersdorf, and L’Oréal, as more companies will try to benefit from the growth. This will force companies to innovate with new solutions that either help them to maintain their market position or allow them to enter the segment. So what is the key to developing new solutions? Which strategy will be most beneficial for manufacturers?

The development of smart devices is essential to expand the use of sun care (...)

The development of smart devices is essential to expand the use of sun care lotions. - Photo: © Sergey Novikov /

Technology and interactive solutions are the answer. The development of smart devices is essential to expand the use of sun care lotions throughout the year, mitigating the seasonality linked to sun protection products and thus expanding the market and offering new opportunities.

The use of technology in the form of digital tools to monitor several aspects of health is getting popular as a way to prevent health issues and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Looking at exercise and fitness alone, around one quarter of global consumers say they currently use digital tools to monitor this. Although the level of global consumers who use the same approach to monitor sun exposure is currently very low (which is understandable as these devices are still in the early stages of product development), around 40% would consider using digital tools for this in the future. (Canadean’s Q4 global consumer survey 2015)Digital tools and monitoring may change consumers’ attitudes towards sunbathing and sun protection, but how? And how might this help the sun care industry? The key is raising awareness about sun damage.

The principal challenge the sun care segment faces is the seasonality of its products, as consumers mainly associate these with the summer season and sunbathing, rather than looking at them as a key element for outdoor activities during the rest of the year. A recent research commissioned by La Roche-Posay (L’Oréal) among 19,000 women and men globally found out that although 92% were aware that unprotected sun exposure can cause health problems, only 18% of worldwide consumers protect the skin all year round.

The use of devices to monitor sun exposure, calculating the amount of UV (or UVA) radiation all over the year, may change this behavior, as monitoring highlights the hidden risks of sun exposure at times when consumers are not aware of it.
This concept has already been noticed by L’Oréal, which recently announced the release of a new UV patch designed to monitor UV exposure thorough a free mobile app. The patch can be placed on areas constantly exposed to sunrays, such as hands or arms, and changes color depending on the degree of UV exposure. Consumers then can then take a photo of the patch to upload it to the app, and this will calculate if the wearer has been exposed to the sun for too long and if it is recommended to apply sunscreen.

L’Oréal is not the only company that is trying an interactive approach in relation to sun care; the Smartsun wristband developed in Sweden follows the same idea by alerting wearers when they have been exposed to UV rays for too long. This makes them aware they need to either find shelter or apply sun lotion, depending on the color of the wristband. Nivea also surprised consumers last year with an interactive doll made with UV-sensitive material that turns red when exposed to harsh rays without sunscreen, as a way to teach children they need protection from the sun.

Going further, Molescope is a smartphone attachment (similar to a microscope) for dermoscopy that provides a "high-resolution detailed view of skin though magnification and specialized lighting." It allows consumers to scan their moles and track changes over time to prevent further issues.

Still, there are some challenges. If smart devices and campaigns succeed in their attempt to raise awareness about the importance of sun protection throughout the year, manufacturers will also need to provide solutions adapted to these needs. For instance, during winter it is important to offer quick-drying solutions that stay on the skin even after it has rubbed against clothes, or on-the-go non-sticky concentrated products that are easy to carry everywhere and last as long as regular sun care products in spite of their smaller size.

In the upcoming years we will see how this trend evolves, but what it is certain is that interactive sun protection will play a key role in future developments where simple functioning devices linked to smartphones or tablets will be essential.

By Maria Fernandez - Canadean Consumer’s Associate Innovation Researcher

© 2016 - Brazil Beauty News -

about Maria Fernandez

Maria Fernandez is Canadean’s Innovation Researcher for Personal Care, responsible for research across these industries with respect to market trends and product innovation.
Since joining the company in 2012 she has been researching information on new consumer products available on the markets, liaising with a global field of shoppers, and examining information obtained through primary and secondary sources. In addition she has been in charge of co-ordinating the social media platforms of the Product Launch Analytics department.

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