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Wellness Redefined: Exploring the Case for Emotional Wellbeing

October 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences, including not just risks to physical health but increasingly needs around emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The need to address gaps that are resurfacing and newly emerging priorities in this space calls for immediate action from business in order to sustain relevance and ensure longer term benefits through investment in product and service evolution, digitalisation and technology, as well as societal contributions.

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Key findings

Need for emotional support reinforced

COVID-19 has been a far-reaching health crisis, as its negative impacts go beyond the physical health of those who contract the virus, and affect the emotional wellbeing of many people. Three key factors are escalating the need to factor in the emotional aspects of wellbeing: continued health concerns, disrupted lifestyles and the economic fallout.

All-encompassing solutions in health and beauty

Consistency in wellness routines at home can bring internal balance, pleasure and happiness. Active ingredients can be explored that promote emotional health and factor in the whole ecosystem, including body, mind and the outward manifestations of health.

Wider need state segmentation and formulations in drinks and tobacco

Consumers are increasingly comfortable with managing aspects of their emotional health through drinks and tobacco products, and are likely to demand more need state segmentation and more ambitious formulations containing functional and herbal ingredients, such as adaptogenic herbs, traditional herbs and more taboo substances, such as cannabinoids.

Novel functional claims and positioning in food and nutrition

With consumers looking for healthier ways to indulge without the consequences, this brings opportunities for permissible indulgence. Food brands that pay attention to a mental wellbeing positioning through new ingredient formulations, as well as digital applications to educate and support in this area, can gain loyalty among consumers.

Adoption of tech and positive at-home rituals in home and tech

Innovation opportunities are widening as consumers become more open to using technology to monitor and manage stress and anxiety. As physical interactions continue to be limited, companies should invest in devices that facilitate connection, and even venture into haptic or AR/VR technology to create a sense of connection.

Stress-free shopping and enriched at-home dining-in services

Retailers and restaurants should work to minimise emotional stress by providing consumers with a safe and easy space to navigate their shopping and dining experiences. This might include investment in digital services and apps that help address emotional health issues, and technologies that are well suited for a contactless world.


Key findings
COVID-19’s “silent toll” requires action to support emotional health
Businesses pivot to prioritising the emotional aspects of wellbeing

Economies and Consumers

COVID-19 accelerates factors impacting emotional wellbeing
The impact varies among different consumer groups
Addressing emotional wellness where it is most needed
UK: quick business response to support emotional health
India: a gradual shift in attitudes towards emotional health
Key actions for business through COVID-19 and beyond

Health, Beauty and Fashion

Self-care and indulgence routines support emotional wellbeing
Exploring more widely encompassing solutions and positioning
Holistic beauty offerings factoring in skin, body and mind as one entity
Respekt: launch of beauty meditation app alongside a skin care line
IFF: partners with Sleep Score Lab to research sleep scent solutions
Key actions for business through COVID-19 and beyond

Drinks and Tobacco

Drinks and tobacco: capitalising on evolving priorities
Drinks and tobacco: addressing emotional need states
Brave new world of benefit territories
PepsiCo: positioning for sleep
Wild by Nature: addressing multiple points of concern
Key actions for business through COVID-19 and beyond

Food and Nutrition

Cooking and emotional eating as a means to relieve stress and anxiety
Key implications in food and nutrition
Engaging with consumers through functionality and need states
Enlightened brings adaptogens to the masses
Productos Ramo SA engages consumers from an emotional perspective
Key actions for business through COVID-19 and beyond

Home and Technology

Adoption of technology and positive at-home rituals to manage stress
Key implications in home and tech
Training emotional fitness with technology
Core: hands-on meditation guidance
Yankee Candles: ongoing candle experience at home
Key actions for business through COVID-19 and beyond

Services and Payments

Consumers eye stress-reduced shopping and at-home experiences
Industries adapt to consumers with a broad array of emotional needs
Grocery retailers rise to the occasion as linchpin for anxious communities
Snapchat partners with Headspace to help support emotional health
Amazon Go Grocery aims to take the stress out of food shopping
Key actions for business through COVID-19 and beyond


Key recommendations for business
Impact of emotional wellness on consumer markets


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