According to reports from Chinese media platform Radii, sun protection clothing and accessories – including balaclavas, face masks, visors, hoodies and arm sleeves – have become a hit with Chinese millennials and Gen Zers. Content under the ‘sun protection clothing’ tag on Chinese social media app Xiaohongshu has amassed over one million views. This indicates that young consumers are not only interested in staying safe and protected from the sun, but also keen to create a shareable, on-trend social media moment in the process.
This summer saw intense global heat waves affect countries on a large scale. Almost 70 Chinese cities hit record temperatures of over 40°C this July. In the US, a number of states including Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas broke daily temperature records. Meanwhile, heat-related deaths were increasing at a dangerous rate in England, Wales, Spain and Portugal.
China is ahead of the curve when it comes to this trend. The global personal protective equipment market is expected to reach $92.86bn by 2027 (Statista, 2020) – spurred on by the effects of both Covid lockdowns and the climate crisis. In the wake of such intense heat waves, expect awareness and concerns around sun protection to increase over the coming months.
There is a real opportunity here for fashion-centric apparel brands to move into PPE gear that’s both functional and fashionable. Especially with younger consumers, who are hyper-aware of the dangers of prolonged sun exposure – 90% of young people in 2021 reported regular sunscreen use, with fears around skin cancer being the leading cause (Jama Network, 2021) – there’s a market gap for elevated protective products.
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