Sunshine is getting more competitors.
Upscale sunless tanning company Vita Liberata has rolled out masstige option NKD SKN in the U.S. to Ulta and Walgreens. NKD SKN has four products priced at $14.95 to $19.50: 1 Day Bronzing Tinted Lotion, Tinted Tan Mousse, Tinted Tan Liquid and the best-selling Gradual Glow Daily Tan Moisturiser. Industry sources estimate NKD SKN could generate $5 million in retail sales this year.
“The original demographic for NKD SKN was definitely a younger audience that is more price-sensitive, but we also have quite a number of customers in their thirties and forties that would love to reach for Vita Liberata, but don’t have the bucks to do it,” said Alyson Hogg, founder and chief executive officer of Vita Liberata. “I don’t see why sales of NKD SKN can’t match sales of Vita Liberata. People have choices around tanning that they didn’t have before. We have a huge opportunity to grow this category.”
The similarities between Vita Liberata, which is priced from $25 to $84 at Sephora, and NKD SKN exceed the differences. Hogg emphasized the two lines share non-toxic ingredients, and the abilities to dry instantaneously and fade naturally. Where they differ is that NKD SKN’s formulations don’t have as high a level of organic content as Vita Liberata’s, and NKD SKN lacks a moisture-locking technology that is available in Vita Liberata.
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NKD SKN was originally introduced at Superdrug in the United Kingdom last year. The Vita Liberata line is sold at Boots. Within Superdrug, Hogg said NKD SKN has “by far the highest percentage of repurchase of any [self-tanning] product they have.” She is particularly pleased by the repeat sales because she noted the sunless product category tends not to retain customers, who flee to tanning beds if self-tanners don’t produce good results, and NKD SKN is at the expensive end of the sunless tanning array.
The demand for a bronzed look is certainly not dimming. Both the sunless tanning sector and tanning salons are growing domestically. Research firm IBISWorld estimated U.S. sales of self-tanning products grew at an annual rate of 15.3 percent from 2009 to 2014 to generate $763.4 million last year. Going forward, the firm projects sunless tanning product sales will notch an average annual growth rate of 7.5 percent through 2019, when the category will reach $1.1 billion.
Unlike other beauty sectors, self-tanning is rather fragmented. Commanding 6.5 percent of the sector, Kao Corp., the company behind Jergens, holds the largest market share, according to IBISWorld. Johnson & Johnson and Clarins are formidable players in the sector as well, but smaller entrants are attempting to grab share from sunless tanning stalwarts. From 2009 to 2014, IBISWorld points out the volume of companies in the sector increased 9 percent to 212.
Hogg indicated disappointment with the sunless tanning selection at mass, and pushed consumers to try new products. “The word is catching on that there is an alternative to the dreadful tan experience that people have had,” she said. In the few weeks NKD SKN has been on U.S. shelves, she continued, Gradual Glow sales “have doubled every week in Walgreens and Ulta. In fact, in some weeks, it has more than doubled week-over-week. I think that is because we are giving customers something they really wanted, but didn’t think was possible.”