Companies target a new market: the stressed
Drivers boarding the new Lincoln Nautilus are entering “a sanctuary,” Lincoln says in the car’s ads. The seats provide a massage, the vents emit refreshed air, and the sound-absorbing materials eliminate the noise outside.
To avoid seat belt recalls and other car alerts, Lincoln, which is owned by Ford Motor Co., worked with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to compose soft chimes to play instead. A lighting display that activates as the vehicle approaches is called a “Lincoln Embrace,” the company says. “The door opens and it really looks like a human hug,” says Kemal Curic, Lincoln’s design director.
Long before Covid-19 hit last year, rising stress was identified as one of the top concerns for Americans. Now, more than a year after the start of the pandemic, consumer stress levels have skyrocketed. In June, nearly a third of Americans reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2019, only 11% of Americans reported such symptoms, according to a comparable survey by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Young adults and those who did not complete high school reported the largest increases in symptoms, but every racial, ethnic, gender and age group said they experienced some increase, federal researchers said. healthy earlier this year.
With a large portion of the population under stress, more and more consumer product companies are seeing anxiety alleviation as an opportunity. Manufacturers of everyday goods, from cars and stationery to makeup, cereals and beverages, are crafting marketing messages and launching products targeting concerned consumers.