Talking Shop with… Beth St. Raymond

The director of sun care for Energizer Personal Care says that sun care is among the sales leaders in seasonal categories.

Grocery Headquarters: Why is the sun care category important to retailers?
Beth St. Raymond:
In the U.S., sun care is estimated to be a $1.2 billion category per year and in food/drug/mass, excluding Walmart, it is No. 1 in dollar sales among seasonal categories and third among all personal care categories in-season. Additionally, sun care is an important category in driving trips and building the seasonal market basket for retailers.

While the sun care category is clearly a vital component of any retailer’s seasonal offerings, there is still significant opportunity for growth. Currently it is estimated that only 38% of households purchase sun care on an annual basis and only purchase these products two to three times per year. By addressing both household penetration and usage retailers can drive significant category growth.

What do you feel is keeping the household penetration and buying rates low in this category?
Our Energizer Personal Care sun care insights team conducts ongoing research to probe into consumer/shopper attitudes and behaviors as it relates to sun protection products. Based on our research, we have found the main reason for not using/purchasing sun protection products is the lack of understanding about the importance of using sun protection.

For example, our research shows that consumers are not purchasing or entering the category due to the following barriers:

  • They do not believe they spend a lot of time outside;
  • They feel they have no reason to use sun protection; or
  • They do not participate in sun activities.

Some of the other key consumer insights include the fact that men are less likely than women to use sunscreen and consumers with self-described olive, brown or black skin tones are more likely than others to say they do not need to use sunscreen. Also, lower-income consumers are less likely to use sun care and households without children are likely to report not using sun protection products at all.

What about current users?
Among those consumers that do use sun screen, we have found that they feel they understand key elements of the category, but when probed further they do not accurately understand areas such as UVA/UVB, sun protection factors and usage, such as when to apply and how much to apply. It is important that consumers understand these critical elements so they get the proper protection from the sun’s UV rays.

How do you feel the FDA Monograph will impact the category and retail?
The final FDA Monograph focuses on testing and labeling. At Energizer Personal Care, we are ahead of the game and have led the industry by already adopting many of the labeling practices announced by the FDA. Assuming the proposed SPF cap does not go into effect, the primary impact on the category is that consumers/shoppers will need to get accustomed to the new labeling, which will ultimately help minimize shopper confusion. We also see this ruling as an opportunity for retailers and manufacturers to partner together to address category education in order to drive household penetration and buying rates for the category.

What do you feel are the key areas for retailers to focus on to drive continued growth in the sun care category?
Given the category dynamics and relatively low rate of household penetration, sun care has a significant opportunity to grow in the future and help drive trips and market basket for retailers. To drive growth, we are focusing on simplifying the category for shoppers by driving in store visibility for the category, developing shopper centric shelving strategies and partnering with retailers to drive category education in and out of the store.

Visibility of the sun care category in store is critical to driving sales for the category.  Displays in high-traffic areas or affinity categories will help drive impulse purchases in store.  We also know that shoppers are spending a lot of time at the shelf trying to determine the right product for their needs and they are looking for a simplified shelf presentation.

Finally, educational information will also aid in their purchase decision.  We believe focusing on these three areas—visibility, shelving and education—will drive shopper satisfaction and lead to greater conversion in store.

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