The take-home summer remedies category has shown strong growth over the past year. Sales increased by 9% to January 29, 2006, compared with 3% growth the previous year.

Sun preparation accounts for 72.5% of the category and has contributed the majority of growth, with value sales up 13.2% on the previous year. Sales in hayfever remedies have also increased, up 3.4% for the second year running. Topical antiseptics have suffered disappointing sales, down 7% in the latest year.

Volume sales of sun preparations have increased, as consumers take advantage of multibuy promotions and therefore buy in bulk. Yet, despite higher promotional activity, average prices have increased, which has driven value sales further ahead of volume. The average sun preparation product costs 25p more than it did a year ago.

Boots Soltan is the leading brand in the market and has shown strong growth over the latest year. Ambre Solaire, Nivea and Piz Buin have also grown strongly year-on-year. Women are significantly more important than men in this market, accounting for 85% of all usage.

While value sales of hayfever remedies have only increased 3.4% in the latest year, the volume of products sold increased by 23.5%. Growth has been eroded by lower prices, with the average pack now costing £2.19 compared with £2.62 last year.

The percentage of the population buying hayfever remedies has increased from 12.8% last year to 13.9% this year - an additional half a million consumers.

Boots own label has the largest market share, but major brands such as Beconase and Zirtek are driving growth.

In contrast, sales of topical antiseptics have declined over the latest year. Unit sales are down by 5.3% - half a million people have stopped buying in the latest year - while a 7% fall in value is a result of slightly lower prices.

Tesco and Boots have been instrumental in driving growth in the category.

Boots accounts for almost half of all value sales, while Tesco has significantly driven volume over the latest year.

Alastair Davis, TNS Worldpanel

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Focus on Summer Health (April 2006)