What you need to know

After solid gains between 2009 and 2012, sales in the nearly $1.3 billion sun protection and sunless tanner category have started to wane. The seasonal nature of the category, value-driven shoppers, and competition from personal care products with SPF have all contributed to an overall slowdown in sales. Despite weakening sales, targeted benefits and marketing efforts that appeal to both highly engaged and untapped demographic groups remain a growth opportunity.


This report builds on the analysis presented in Mintel’s Sun Protection and Sunless Tanners – US, November 2013, as well as the November 2012, October 2011, and October 2010 reports of the same title. It also builds on Suncare – US, August 2008, as well as the October 2007, August 2006, June 2005, and March 2003 reports of the same title.

For the purposes of this report, the sun protection and sunless tanners market is defined as follows:

  • Sunscreen
  • Suntan lotion and oil (includes lotions/oils for indoor tanning beds)
  • Sunless tanners

Beauty and personal care products, such as facial moisturizers and color cosmetics, that include SPF are not included in the market size or sales data but are covered in the consumer analysis.

This report excludes:

  • After sun products
  • Insect repellents with sunscreen

Value figures throughout this report are at rsp (retail selling prices) excluding sales tax unless otherwise stated.

Data sources

Sales data

  • Market Size and Forecast are total retail sales based on Information Resources, Inc. InfoScan Reviews; US Census Bureau, Economic Census.

  • Retail Channels are based on Information Resources, Inc. InfoScan Reviews; US Census Bureau, Economic Census; except supermarket and drug store sales, which are based on Information Resources, Inc. InfoScan Reviews.

  • Leading Companies are based on MULO sales data from Information Resources, Inc. InfoScan Reviews. MULO is defined as Multi Outlet, representative of the following channels: total US Grocery, Mass, total US Drug, total Walmart, Dollar, Military, and Club.

Consumer survey data

For the purposes of this report, Mintel commissioned exclusive consumer research through Lightspeed GMI to explore consumer usage and attitudes toward sun protection products and sunless tanners. Mintel was responsible for the survey design, data analysis, and reporting. Fieldwork was conducted in August 2014 among a sample of 2,000 adults aged 18+ with access to the internet.

Mintel selects survey respondents by gender, age, household income, and region so that they are proportionally representative of the US adult population using the internet. Mintel also slightly over-samples, relative to the population, respondents that are Hispanic or Black to ensure an adequate representation of these groups in our survey results and to allow for more precise parameter estimates from our reported findings. Please note that Mintel surveys are conducted online and in English only. Hispanics who are not online and/or do not speak English are not included in the survey results.

Mintel has also analyzed data from Experian Marketing Services, using the Simmons NCS (National Consumer Study) and the Simmons NHCS (National Hispanic Consumer Study).

The Experian Marketing Services, Simmons NCS/NHCS was carried out during January 2013-March 2014 and the results are based on the sample of 24,005 adults aged 18+, with results weighted to represent the US adult population.

While race and Hispanic origin are separate demographic characteristics, Mintel often compares them to each other. Please note that the responses for race (White, Black, Asian, Native American, or other race) will overlap those that also are Hispanic, because Hispanics can be of any race.

Abbreviations and terms


The following is a list of abbreviations used in this report.

CPI Consumer Price Index
FDA Food and Drug Administration
GNPD Global New Products Database
J&J Johnson & Johnson
MULO Multi Outlet, representative of the following channels: total US Grocery, Mass, total US Drug, total Walmart, Dollar, Military, and Club
NACS National Association of Convenience Stores
NHCS National Consumer Study/National Hispanic Consumer Study (Experian Marketing Services)
rsp Retail selling price
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UVA UVA rays account for up to 95% of the UV radiation reaching Earth and is the dominant tanning ray. UVA rays penetrate more deeply than UVB rays and are known to play a role in skin aging and wrinkling.
UVB UVB rays are primarily responsible for sunburn, and are considered to play a key role in the development of skin cancer.

Generations, if discussed within this report, are defined as:

World War II The generation born in 1932 or before. In 2014, members of this generation are aged 82 or older.
Swing Generation The generation born between 1933 and 1945. In 2014, members of the Swing Generation are between the ages of 69 and 81.
Baby Boomers The generation born between 1946 and 1964. In 2014, Baby Boomers are between the ages of 50 and 68.
Generation X The generation born between 1965 and 1976. In 2014, Generation Xers are between the ages of 38 and 49.
Millennials* The generation born between 1977 and 1994. In 2014, Millennials are between the ages of 20 and 37.
iGeneration The generation born between 1995 and 2007. In 2014, iGen are between the ages of 7 and 19.
Emerging generation The newest generation began in 2008 as the annual number of births declined sharply with the recession. In 2014 members of this as-yet-unnamed generation are younger than 7.

* also known as Generation Y or Echo Boomers

In order to provide an inflation-adjusted price value for markets, Mintel uses the CPI to deflate current prices. The CPI is defined as follows:

CPI The Consumer Price Index is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services.

The CPI and its components are typically used to adjust other economic series for price changes and to translate these series into inflation-free dollars. Examples of series adjusted by the CPI include retail sales, hourly and weekly earnings, and components of the national income and product accounts. In addition, and in Mintel reports, the CPI is used as a deflator of the value of the consumer’s dollar to find its purchasing power. The purchasing power of the consumer’s dollar measures the change in the value to the consumer of goods and services that a dollar will buy at different dates.

The CPI is generally the best measure for adjusting payments to consumers when the intent is to allow consumers to purchase, at today’s prices, a market basket of goods and services equivalent to one that they could purchase in an earlier period. It is also the best measure to use to translate retail sales into real or inflation-free dollars.

Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics definition.
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