1.1 Definition and scope of study
Sunscreen refers to a cream or lotion that is applied on the skin to provide UV protections to the user. In more recent years this has been mixed with bronzing and/or hydrating products.
‘Body care’ makes up the second biggest expense for Italian families (16.3%), and naturally sunscreen (and pigmentation products) falls under this umbrella, taking first place with a little less than 26% of the share. This market has been steadily increasing for the past decade with a 9.8% average growth. ). In the year ending with September 2020 the growth was 2.8% and an increase in volume of 3.6% with a total of over 11.5 million units sold. This trend came to a halt in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic (only products with certified UV protection. Forecasts for 2020 demonstrated an expected fall of 8%. Being a highly seasonal purchase this market is expected to increase by 2% in 2021. In the peninsula sun screen and sun lotions make up more than 99% of this market, with bronzers and lip care making up the rest.
There are three main distributive channels for sunscreen products in Italy:
- Pharmacies and parapharmacies which make up 81% and almost 11% of transactions, respectively
- Supermarkets, hypermarkets and wholesale sellers at with ‘corners’ at 6%
- Supermarkets, hypermarkets and wholesale sellers at without ‘corners’ at 2%
Perhaps surprisingly, two products have been faring negatively in this market: after-sun lotion for young children (-6.5%) and bronzers (-4%). In 2018 Italians spent on average €16.88 in pharmacies on sunscreen. 84% of Italians purchase sunscreen based on the SPF protection level. 69% of Italians use sunscreen to avoid being sunburnt while 17% believe they don’t get burnt.
The first five companies (Ganassini, La Roche Posay, Vichy, L’Oréal and Eau Thermale Avène) were granted over 50% of revenues of this market in 2019.
Italy is a strong exporter of skin care products, reaching €900 million in 2018 (+9.5%), naturally sunscreen products make up an important part of this. On the national territory there are over 22,000 firms involved in the production, sale and bulk resale of sun-care products. According to figures from the Milan Chamber of Commerce there are 3.251 firms in Lombardy involved in this business. There are over 1800 in Rome and 1729 in Naples.
Italy is also an important exporter of sunscreen products, particularly due to the prestige of the ‘Made in Italy’ brands. Exports totalled over €500 million with EU contries being the main buyers followed by Hong Kong (€99 million, +9%), USA (€82 million). China and Saudi Arabia have recently been buying a lot of Italian made sunscreen with respective increases in purchases of 62% and 55%.
The sunscreen market is projected to grow, particularly considering increased UV levels in the atmosphere presented by climate change challenges. In the past 5 years in Europe 5.000 patents have been presented for sun-care related products. Over 26.000 collaborators work on this (researchers, biologists, chemists, toxicologists, doctors), in tens of centres across the continent. R&D investment in Italy tops 7% of revenue per annum. Recent tendencies in bio-conservation, organic products and recycled containers appear to keep this market stable and growing.
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