Survey: What Women Want in Suncare




Canada may not hold the title of sunniest place in the world (that honour goes to Yuma, Arizona), but it’s finally the time of year when customers look to stock up on UV protection. To better understand their behaviours and preferences, consumer research firm The Benchmarking Company recently surveyed 4,500 North American women on how they shop sunscreen and other SPF-containing products.

A full 93 percent of respondents said they currently purchase or use skincare with SPF, underscoring robust demand for this beauty category. Nonetheless, misconceptions about sun safety continue to abound, and the abundance of product options can make finding the right one a daunting task for consumers and beauty advisors alike (see our sidebar of new suncare launches below, as well as our guide to SPF for different needs).

Read on for a snapshot of The Benchmarking Company’s survey findings:


What Consumers Want

  • When selecting a traditional sunscreen, the texture, smell and duration of protection are critical considerations for consumers. So for beauty experts, it’s important to understand the many different options available, in terms of both sensorial appeal and product performance
  • Most survey takers said it’s “very important” for a sunscreen to be lightweight (60 percent), sweatproof (58 percent) and proven to protect for up to 90+ minutes (63 percent)
  • It’s also “very important” for a sunscreen to offer an SPF higher than 15 but lower than 100 (60 percent) and have a “pleasant, non-chemical scent” (60 percent)

What Consumers Don’t Want

  • Although suncare formulas have become much more sophisticated in recent years, women are still wary of chalky goopiness
  • Most survey takers considered it “very important” for a sunscreen to not be white/streaky (63 percent) and not be sticky (66 percent), and to be free of harmful chemicals” (61 percent)

Why SPF-Enhanced Products Are More Appealing Than Sunscreen

  • Seventy-five percent of survey takers preferred using skincare with a built-in SPF benefit over a stand-alone sunscreen. Texture, smell and convenience (i.e., being able to easily fit the product into their daily routine) were among the most popular reasons why
  • On the other side, those who do prefer a traditional, stand-alone sunscreen particularly value the sweatproof/waterproof options and different levels of SPF available

There’s a Knowledge Gap

  • When it comes to suncare, consumers talked the talk—but didn’t always walk the walk. Eighty-five percent said they’re concerned or very concerned about facial sun damage, but only 53 percent wear SPF daily on their face
  • Furthermore, 20 percent of respondents believe sun exposure has “no effect” on wrinkles, and 16 percent believe it has zero effect on uneven skin pigmentation, making customer education key

They’re Willing to Spend

  • Nearly 85 percent of respondents said they’re willing to pay more for a product that has SPF, while 80 percent believe that an anti-aging skincare product should contain SPF

What’s Next

  • As awareness of photodamage grows, women are seeking new ways to defend themselves. Sixty-six percent said they’re interested in using or trying a hairstyling product with SPF
  • A product that would give UV protection for the scalp is particularly intriguing, with nearly 73 percent of survey takers “very interested”

New In Stores: