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Today’s knowledge economy is driving consumers in Asia-Pacific to over-index on mental work. As such, Mintel is witnessing a growing awareness of and desire for products and services that support consumers with focus, attention and mood elevation, especially as mental states are more and more inextricably linked to performance.

In a new thought piece, ‘Powering the Mind: Innovations for Asia-Pacific’s Cerebral Age’, Mintel takes a look at the shifts in how consumers are managing self-care in three key areas: work, rest and play. Additionally, Mintel’s expert analysts uncover the opportunities for companies and brands across industries to cater to those on the lookout for products and services that power the mind, as well as investigate the different issues that will drive the growth of mental performance solutions in Asia-Pacific.

Work: Focused attention

Mental health issues like stress, anxiety and depression are prevalent in Asia-Pacific today and are often times accompanied by a decrease in focus and attention among consumers. This is resulting in a growing demand for products that can help consumers calm and refocus the mind and increase productivity. When it comes to beauty, Mintel research reveals that half (48%) of Indian fragrance users look for relaxing claims when purchasing perfumes, colognes or body sprays.

“In today’s socially-connected world, beauty and self-care are intertwined beyond physical appearances, extending into rituals and emotional and mental states of health. Our research shows that over half (52%) of urban Thai consumers say that maintaining a positive mental state contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Self-care has become the catchall word for pampering and keeping oneself in an ideal mental state—and through it, focus, concentration and attention now have a connective link to beauty. This link is strengthening as categories like fragrances take on a functional role in beauty, creating an entry point for the industry to influence mental states,” commented Angelia Teo, Research Manager, Mintel Beauty & Personal Care, Asia-Pacific.

Rest: Mental downtime

Decades of sleep research have brought about a deeper understanding of the body’s reparative functions and how sleep impacts memory, mood and overall daily performance. Indeed, over a third (35%) of urban Chinese consumers say they struggle to get enough sleep; while as many as three in four (72%) urban Indonesians say that getting enough sleep contributes to a healthy lifestyle, according to Mintel research. The link between sleep and performance is creating opportunities for brands across industries to introduce products and solutions related to sleep.

“Despite the influence sleep has on performance, sleep patterns and biorhythms are being disrupted by modern-day habits like the use of technology, job anxiety, and urban stressors like pollution. In food and drink, more and more companies are starting to incorporate nootropics like L-theanine and adaptogens like ashwagandha and holy basil into their products to help consumers cope with stress, and simply rest and relax. This is especially relevant for Asia-Pacific’s younger generation; Mintel research shows that almost half (48%) of urban Australian millennials plan to reduce their stress levels,” added Jodie Minotto, Research Manager, Mintel Food & Drink, Asia-Pacific.

Play: Getting into a mood

Mintel Trend ‘Mood to Order’ highlights how consumers are increasingly tuned in to their own emotional well-being and are looking for ways to support and build on this. Many believe that happiness is the ideal state of being and are seeking products and services that help them stay in balance. Mintel research reveals that a whopping 86% of urban Chinese females agree that using beauty products makes them feel confident.

“Today, there is a need for companies and brands across industries to create solutions aimed not only at fighting stress, but also elevating mood levels. Looking at the food and drink industry, our research shows that the majority (68%) of urban Chinese consumers say they eat comfort foods for mood adjustment when they are depressed. Pets are known to give human beings emotional support and, as a result, we have seen the emergence of pet cafés across the region. In all, consumers are giving companies and brands permission to be a part of their self-improvement journey and mental workout routine. The time is ripe for more products and services that help consumers perform, achieve and surpass their own expectations,” concluded Matthew Crabbe, Regional Trends Director, Asia-Pacific, Mintel.