As new research from market intelligence agency Mintel revealed this influential statistic and discussed its importance at this year’s in-cosmetics Asia, we caught up with Sharon Kwek, Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst for Beauty and Personal Care at Mintel to ask what impact the de-stressing beauty sphere is having on the APAC landscape.
Globally, stress is an experience that can happen to “anyone and anywhere”. Yet consumers in Asia are particularly drawn to beauty buys with stress-reducing and relaxation claims.
Stress: Where is it coming from?
Stress-reducing and relaxation products make up a third of global beauty products and personal care items in 2018, rising from 26% in 2015.
In 2018, Mintel has found that 30% of urban Chinese consumers aged between 20-49 are worried about stress at work. This figure has gone up from 25% in 2013. Up to 60% of urban Indonesians and 59% of urban Thais aim to lower their stress levels for personal health and wellness reasons.
Awareness of modern stressors such as social media is growing, with 32% of urban Indonesians between 25-34 reporting that this form of connectivity is related to higher stress levels.
The amount of sleep we get, our stress levels and other lifestyle factors are thought to heavily relate to the appearance of facial skin. In fact, 49% of urban Chinese female consumers confirm that sufficient sleep is the most vital part of skin care. Interestingly, 49% of urban Thai female consumers think that these lifestyle factors heavily impact how facial skin looks.
Commenting on the cause and influences that lead to this heightened sense and presence of stress in Asia, Sharon Kwek, Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst, Beauty and Personal Care at Mintel, shared: “Asian culture is possibly still more reserved in talking about stress, mental health status though this is slowly changing and such conversations are gradually picking up.”
For beauty, personal care and lifestyle brands that are looking at ways to reduce stress levels, the context needs to be a core consideration. “Pride is strong in the Asia context, hence the tendency to keep stress or simply how we feel within ourselves and turning to products for solutions,” explained Kwek. This creates numerous and exciting opportunities for these brands targeting Asian consumers.
Regardless of cultural differences between leading personal care markets around the world, urban consumers are reacting and responding heavily to products that provide benefits to positively impact stress during the commute, at work or life in general.
Following the formulation stage, and prior to the product launch phase, marketers must consider a variety of factors to promote items that encourage awareness and provide answers to support emotional health and wellbeing.
“Product marketing today is no longer a monologue where the emphasis is on product functionalities solely,” Kwek emphasised.
Successful communication is based on authenticity, reach and engagement. The Mintel Trend 'Mood to Order' highlights the power of, and interest in, mood-enhancing products. Therefore, today’s marketing has become “almost like a dialogue with consumers such that they can relate to their lifestyles or what they are experiencing at present according to their mood”.
Communication, campaigns and content marketing strategies will increasingly talk about self-care management. Marketers will explore a wide variety of topics around care such as sleep patterns, improving sleep quality, heart rate and sweat levels. Adopting this content focus seeks to offer more precise solutions.
Looking to 2019 and beyond
The wide-extension of this self-care management discussion reaches to low energy levels. Mintel's 2025 Global Beauty & Personal Care Trend recognises how consumers want to address their levels of energy. Consumer demands and decision-making factors influence this destressing and relaxation trend.
Mood-enhancing products that seek to directly impact emotional health and healing is set to be a new space for innovation in the beauty industry.
Communication strategies and marketing activities “will differ”, Kwek stresses. This “use of different therapies will be incorporated into product formulations and creating rituals to aid de-stress and relaxation”.
Functional delivery is a core offering that consumers expect, yet, as an evolution of the personalisation trend, these also need to sync with their body's natural rhythm for more targeted results. Items housed in the aromatherapy segment, for example, is crucial, yet other forms of therapy such as the use of crystals may transform this popular trend forward.