Study: Canadians Buying More Self-tanner, Still Not Using SPF Year-round

By Janna Zittrer

Sun-starved Canadians love a beachy glow—even if it means having to fake it. According to the latest Canada BeautyTrends research from The NPD Group, sales of self-tanning products grew by 26 percent in 2014.  

Photography: istock

Photography: istock

While that’s good news for those with a stake in the sunless tanning game, the surging popularity of self-tanners may be contributing to a lax attitude toward SPF: “It appears that since consumers are achieving that natural glow artificially, they feel less inclined to spend on in-sun and after-sun products,” noted Sandy Silva, Canadian beauty industry analyst at The NPD Group, in a statement. In fact, while Canadians shelled out nearly $1.5 million more on self-tanners last year than in 2013, both in-sun and after-sun products saw a slide in growth. 

“Even if people are using self-tanners, that does not mean they are completely avoiding the sun,” explained Silva. “It’s important to remind consumers that while they’re decreasing their sun exposure, they still need to invest in other sun-care products to ensure they remain safe from harmful UV rays.” 

Source: The NPD Group/Canada BeautyTrends, year ending December 2014

Source: The NPD Group/Canada BeautyTrends, year ending December 2014

While sales of in-sun and after-sun products consistently spike in June, they tend to drop off rather dramatically for the other months. “The average Canadian consumer is unaware of the importance of using SPF all year long,” says Silva in a phone interview. “Overall, there’s still an opportunity for retailers and manufacturers to educate consumers.”

As a refresher: Dermatologists and authorities, including The Skin Cancer Foundation, warn that while UVB rays (the main culprit behind sunburns) are most intense in the summer, UVA rays (commonly associated with signs of aging, but also linked with skin cancer risk) are far more prevalent—and they’re constant throughout the year.

For industry insiders who understand the importance of year-round sun protection, the opportunity lies at the retail level: “We know consumers trust the expertise of the beauty advisor at the point of sale. The education starts with them,” says Silva. “Secondary to that would be the packaging in terms of product attributes.”