One of the things that I love most about my job is that there is so much data available at my fingertips. When I’m looking for a new product to buy, I always turn to NPD data first to see what the best sellers in the category are and then determine if those products need to be added to my consideration set. This is good and bad because, for anyone who knows me, once I start looking into something I get obsessive and then need to learn everything about that product from top to bottom. I know what I like and what I buy, but what about other people? I am curious to know if I am behaving similar to the general population. And that’s how a 5 minute task last week to find out what the best-selling self-tanner is turned into a 3 hour research session on suncare products.
I shouldn’t have spent more than 5 minutes on this task, but of course my curiosity got the best of me. After seeing what the #1 and #2 best-sellers were, I needed to know if self-tanners were still a thing in Canada, and how popular they are. Surprisingly, nearly 40 per cent ($9 million) of the $23 million Canadian Prestige Suncare category can be attributed to self-tanning products. This means that for every dollar that is spent on Prestige Suncare, forty cents goes to self-tanners. This makes you wonder if anyone has an actual sun-kissed tan or if we’re all just creating that glow in the comforts of our bathrooms! I’m going to go with the latter seeing as how 30 per cent of purchases were made in the months of May and June. Seems that everyone has the same mindset I do: disguise that glow-in-the-dark pale skin before putting on that first tank top or pair of shorts for the season.
One might also wonder why it is better to fake a tan instead of getting a real one by sitting outside in the sun. Well, as we’ve heard from just about everyone and everywhere, the UV rays from the sun aren’t exactly healthy for us. In fact, tanning is a defense mechanism by our skin and is actually an indicator of sun damage. Damage from UV rays can also cause premature aging of the skin - this effect isn’t immediately apparent but slowly manifests. Education in this area has changed our usage of suncare quite a bit in the last few years. Consumers have been reaching for products that have a higher SPF rating. Last year there was an increase of +10 per cent in sunscreen sales, and all the growth came from sunscreens with an SPF rating of 45 or higher. This shift to a higher protection factor was also seen in facial moisturizers where sales of those with an SPF rating of 30 or higher grew +20 per cent and sales of those with lower SPF ratings have been flat.
Finding this info made me feel much more assured with my routine and product choices. I’m a supporter of high SPF sunscreen and reapplying throughout the day so I’m happy to see that it’s becoming the norm and not the exception. Now I just need to wait for Mother Nature to cooperate so I can show off my fake tan while I sit in the sun with my SPF 60 on.