Trends in the 2021 Chinese Sunscreen Market
BY Ye ChenMay 12, 2021
New trends in the 2021 Chinese sunscreen market: - Chinese consumers prefer light sunscreen products. - Products in multiple forms spring up in the market, such as sunscreen spray, stick, mousse, and even pill. - New sunscreen products have more functions, such as skincare, moisturizing, anti-oxidation, etc. - Some consumers start to pay attention to partial sunscreens, such as eye skin sunscreen.

As summer is around the corner, many new sunscreen products spring up in the Chinese market recently. According to JDS consulting, sunscreen products’ sales growth rate in March reached 147.43%. On Little Red Book, the keyword “sunscreen (防晒)” became the second most popular search word in the fourth week of March, only ranking after “skin (肌肤)”.1

Although some brands and products still dominate the market, such as Shiseido’s Anessa, new products have freshened the whole market with their unique design and innovative concepts.

Light and not greasy

Lightness is the core demand of most consumers. Consumers, especially those with sensitive and acne-prone skin, do not like to wear sunscreen because traditional sunscreen is sticky and sometimes greasy. Light sunscreen cream addresses this problem and becomes a preference for consumers. According to data from Lavector, light sunscreen products’ sales have increased by about 80% in the past three years from 2018 to 2020. 2 Products with lightness as their main selling point achieved great sales in the market. For example, ISDIN, a brand from Spain, has become one of the most popular sunscreen brands in China for its “water-like” products. Its most popular product is called “Fusion water,” which has sold more than 5.3 million bottles.3


ISDIN Fusion Water

Multiple forms

Under the segmented demands of consumers, more sunscreen products are available on the market in different forms, such as sprays, sticks, mouse, and even pills.

These new forms are welcomed by consumers and even have outperformed traditional sunscreen cream products. In the latest sunscreen sales ranking list on Tmall, a sunscreen spray from Gozi with the nickname “Little Yellow Hat” ranked the second.2 This “Little Yellow Hat” impressed its consumers with unique packaging design. Its yellow spray bottle cap’s color will be darker when the external ultraviolet intensity is higher in the environment.


GOCI’s sunscreen spray’s bottle cap color change

With the rise of the “lazy economy,” sunscreen stick also gain more traction for its convenience. For example, a Dynamic Sunscreen Stick from Fresh becomes an ideal choice for outdoor sports enthusiasts because it is waterproof and easy to carry and use.

Other niche categories such as sunscreen mousse and pill are also quickly growing. Foam-like sunscreen mousse remained a 23% increase rate for two consecutive years.2 The sunscreen pill, as an oral beauty product, can repair skin damage caused by ultraviolet rays and inhibit melanin.image005-2.jpg

Fresh Sunscreen Stick

Multiple functions

Brands also add more functions, such as skincare and moisturizing, to their sunscreen products to overshadow other competitors. For example, Mistine, a famous sunscreen brand from Thailand, launched a sunscreen product containing natural plant extract such as cucumber water and Centella to moisturize skin. Florasis, one of the most popular domestic makeup brands, launched its sunscreen product recently. This new product also contains plant extracts such as safflower, vitex Agnusta, chrysanthemum, purslane, and Centella, with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, soothing and other effects.


Florasis Sunscreen

Partial sunscreen

As sunscreen on the face and body has become a must-do for consumers, some begin to pay attention to partial sunscreens, such as eye skin sunscreen. Although the eye skin is only 1/3 of the facial skin, it is relatively tender. Some consumers worry that the sunscreen applied to the face may not be suitable for the eye skin, so they demand for sunscreen products specially designed for eye skin. Up to now, "Eye Skin Sunscreen" has recorded a total of 130,000 notes on Little Red Book. The most popular products in this category are mainly foreign products, such as eye skin sunscreen cream from SkinCeuticals.


Little Red Book: Eye Skin Sunscreen

In 2021, consumers’ demand for sunscreen products is becoming more varied, and the competition is also more severe. Brands who want to stay more relevant in the market should stay on top of the ever-changing consumer demands and innovate products in terms of function, packaging, and form.

Ye Chen
ChemLinked Research Analyst
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