Jul 28, 2023
Key Trends to Observe in China's Sunscreen Market

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Market Size

China's sunscreen market has experienced a noticeable growth trajectory, driven by the heightened awareness of sun protection among consumers. According to Euromonitor, from 2016 to 2021, China's sunscreen market size grew from 9.3 to 16.7 billion yuan, with an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.4%. Looking ahead, it is estimated that by 2026, the market will further expand to 26.4 billion yuan, with an anticipated CAGR of 9.6% from 2021 to 2026. This growth rate is notably higher than the global sunscreen market's CAGR of 8%, signifying the promising prospects in the Chinese sunscreen industry.


With the pandemic subsiding, outdoor activities are seeing a notable increase, driving a sustained surge in the demand for sunscreen products. This trend is particularly evident in the sunscreen e-commerce, where data of the first half of 2023 highlights substantial growth. During this period, the total online retail sales of sunscreen products reached 9.8 billion yuan, representing a significant increase of 18.6% year-on-year (YoY).

Competitive Landscape

China's sunscreen market is witnessing fierce competition with a high concentration rate. Currently, the top 10 brands hold a substantial market share of approximately 45%, with major international brands taking the dominant position in the market.  

Specifically, in the first half of 2023, the Thai brand Mistine surpassed the long-standing best-seller, Anessa, to become the top-selling sunscreen brand online. Chinese brands like Meiking, Winona, and Florasis also secured positions in the top 10 rankings. Particularly noteworthy is Meiking’s emergence as a dark horse among domestic sunscreen brands, mainly due to its exceptional performance on the Douyin channel.


Subcategory Analysis

Sunscreen cream remains the prevailing subcategory in the sunscreen market. Data shows that on Ali platforms, sunscreen cream sales accounted for 92.42% of the whole sunscreen category in 2022. Meanwhile, on the booming livestreaming e-commerce platform Douyin, sunscreen cream products contributed an impressive 86% to the total GMV of sunscreen market.


Noteworthy Trends:

1、Sunscreen's Skincare-oriented Efficacy

As the Chinese sunscreen market is getting mature, consumers' expectation of sunscreen has evolved beyond mere sun protection. They now seek sunscreen products that offer both sun defense and skincare benefits, addressing concerns such as skin nourishment, anti-blue-light, and anti-ultraviolet-aging efficacy.

2、Rise of Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin

With increased attention to sensitive skin, the market is also recognizing the growing demand for sunscreen tailored for this specific group. Sunscreens for sensitive skin often contain soothing ingredients to alleviate issues like itching, stinging, and redness caused by sun exposure, making them highly sought-after by this group.

3、Combination of Sunscreens and Makeup

Products that combine sun protection with makeup effect, such as primers and foundations, are on the rise. These innovative products offer consumers the dual benefits of sun protection and makeup, catering to their demand for efficient beauty solutions. Additionally, a variety of new sunscreen categories, like sunscreen lip balms, sunscreen eyeshadows, and sunscreen setting powders, are gradually gaining traction.

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4、Growing Popularity of Pure Physical Sunscreens

Due to consumers' growing concern for health and the environment, as well as the continuous advancement of sunscreen production technologies, pure physical sunscreens are gaining significant attention. Mintel data reveals a 167% increase in sunscreen products formulated exclusively with physical sunscreen ingredients over the past five years.

5、Growing Demand for Environmentally Friendly Sunscreens

Natural, sustainable, and environmentally friendly sunscreens are gaining popularity as consumers become more conscious of eco-friendly products. According to Mintel, over 30% Chinese consumers are willing to pay a premium for environmentally friendly sunscreen products. This segment is expected to become a prominent trend.

Regulatory requirements

Sunscreens are classified as special cosmetics in China. Therefore, it is mandatory for brands to apply for registration with the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) and obtain approval for market access. Additionally, the efficacy of sunscreens must be evaluated by laboratories in China accredited by NMPA.

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China's Sunscreen Market Landscape and Trend Analysis
This report will give you a full picture of China’s sunscreen market, including market size, competitive landscape, consumer analysis, development trends, regulatory compliance, etc.
Rita Bao
ChemLinked Regulatory Analyst
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