Consumer survey reports growing 'sunxiety' is fueling demand for multi-functional sunscreens

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

"The study found that while 71% of consumers enjoy sun exposure, 38% never feel fully relaxed due to fears of skin damage," reported Veylinx. © Doucefleur Getty Images
"The study found that while 71% of consumers enjoy sun exposure, 38% never feel fully relaxed due to fears of skin damage," reported Veylinx. © Doucefleur Getty Images
As consumers' anxiety about sun exposure increases, a new study by Veylinx revealed insights into the consumer demand for multi-functional sunscreens that not only protect against UV rays but also offer benefits such as anti-aging, hydration, and vitamin C based on reported consumer use habits.

A recent study conducted by behavioral research company Veylinx has highlighted a significant increase in "sunxiety," or anxiety about sun exposure, among consumers, leading to a heightened demand for multi-functional sunscreens. According to a recent press release, the June 2024 study involved 1,609 U.S. consumers and revealed critical insights into consumer preferences and behavior regarding sun protection.

Rising 'sunxiety' and the demand for enhanced sunscreen products

The study found that while 71% of consumers enjoy sun exposure, 38% never feel fully relaxed due to fears of skin damage. Over 60% reported burning very quickly, and 41% expressed concern about skin damage, indicating a growing awareness of the risks associated with UV exposure.

Additionally, as reported in the press release, the study noted a significant rise in Google searches for "what does skin cancer look like," underscoring the increasing anxiety around sun exposure.

As a result of these increased concerns, consumers are not just seeking essential UV protection but are looking for sunscreens that offer additional benefits. The study found that products with anti-aging benefits saw a 49% increase in demand, while hydrating products experienced a 33% boost, and those containing vitamin C increased by 23%.

These enhanced sunscreens are more popular and target a higher retail price point, demonstrating a lucrative opportunity for manufacturers.
As reported in the press release, top brands benefiting from this trend include Neutrogena, Cerave, and Supergoop. These brands have successfully integrated additional benefits into their products, meeting consumer demand for more than sun protection.

For example, the press release highlighted, Supergoop's hydrating benefits drove the highest price point, while anti-aging products from Supergoop, Cerave, and Olay saw significant demand increases over basic versions.

Environmental & packaging considerations

The study also highlighted a preference for reef-safe sunscreens, with 27% of consumers opting for these environmentally friendly options and willing to pay a 14% premium. This indicates a market for products that cater to environmentally conscious consumers.

However, the study found that only 16% of consumers choose sustainable packaging, and they are generally unwilling to pay more for it, which suggested that while environmental concerns are significant, they still need to outweigh cost considerations for most consumers.

Sunscreen usage patterns

The study determined that daily sunscreen usage remains seasonal, with only 27% of respondents applying it year-round, despite 65% preferring sunscreens with SPF greater than 40. During the summer, responses indicated that 30% of consumers apply sunscreen daily, and another 21% apply it five to six times a week.

This seasonal use underscored the need for continued education on the importance of sun protection beyond the summer months. The study further noted that friends and family (42%) and social media (35%) are the primary sources of information about new sunscreen products.

Combining sunscreen with other beauty products & other market opportunities

The press release reported significant interest in combining sun protection with other beauty products. The study found that 57% of consumers favor moisturizers with built-in SPF, and nearly three-quarters prefer tinted foundations with sun protection.

Additionally, clear sunscreens that do not leave a white cast saw a 16% increase in demand over conventional lotions and creams. This trend indicated a growing market for products that offer convenience and multi-functional benefits, catering to consumers' desire for streamlined beauty routines.

The study's overall findings presented a substantial market potential for beauty brands to innovate and cater to these evolving consumer needs. By addressing the rising anxiety around sun exposure and offering products with additional benefits, brands can tap into the growing demand for multi-functional sunscreens.

There is also an opportunity to educate consumers on the importance of year-round sun protection and develop products combining sun care with other skin care benefits.

As consumer awareness of sun protection continues to rise, so does the expectation for products that offer comprehensive benefits, representing a promising avenue for growth and innovation for manufacturers and suppliers in the cosmetics and personal care industry.

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