All the Feels: How Mood will Underpin Future Consumer Spending in Retail

The future consumer is a #mood. By now, it’s a given that consumers expect personalized brand interactions and offerings, but it’s not just functional benefits they’re after. In 2024 and beyond, we will see mood enter the limelight, with retailers catering to people’s day-to-day vibes and emotions. The most successful brands will connect emotionally to their customer base – and give them space and permission to experience a whole spectrum of feelings.

Why the Mood?

The desire to curate and manage in-the-moment emotions is a natural evolution of holistic health. Consumers recognize that mental wellbeing is a key aspect of living well. Managing real-time moods is a way of strengthening fragile mental states in a world besieged by economic uncertainty, climate catastrophe and political unrest.

But it’s not just positive feelings that consumers want to focus on: they’re looking to trigger and tap into the full range of emotions – from happiness and calm to anticipation and excitement. Tools like wearables are helping them home in on personal mood insights and recommendations, highlighting which products and activities to pair with the mood of the moment.

Using our Prioritize Trends tool, which analyzes approximately 1 million data points on attitude and behavior to identify the top actionable trends according to unique customer group, it’s clear that mood is key for retail shoppers in the U.S. A top trend for this segment is Mood Makers, which is all about how consumers are exploring and embracing the power of mood.


And our exclusive consumer data, which spans 46,000 people across 27 global markets, demonstrates just how powerful the need for mood management is:

  • 57% globally say they would be interested in an online shopping search tool that lets them choose products based on the kind of mood they want to feel. That rises to 62% in the U.S.
  • 72% of U.S. consumers express interest in music playlists that change in real time to suit their mood.
  • 67% of U.S. consumers agree that it’s healthy to sometimes feel negative emotions such as anger and disappointment.

Brands Making the Most of Moods

Already, we’re seeing brands tap into this shift in consumer priorities, using mood as a springboard for action and innovation.

In Canada, interbank network Interac launched Sound Shopping – a musical track that soothes consumers as they shop. The tune was designed to be a calming influence on impulse buyers who may struggle to keep their desires in check.

Looking across to the alcohol sector, beer brand Desperados recently released the Dance Club app, which enables users to earn rewards and raise money for charity simply by dancing. It was launched off the back of research finding that dancing releases endorphins and alleviates stress.

And leading fragrance and beauty brand Givaudan is using brain imaging technology to harness the power of scent to evoke specific emotions. Some of the mood-altering compositions they’re exploring include Relax & Unwind, Invigorate & Recharge, and Happy & Blissful.

From Emotion to Action

So how should brands and retailers use these insights to power growth in the years ahead?

  1. Offer mood as a choice filter. Whether online or in-store, present your products and services according to the emotions that they elicit. There are obvious applications of this – such as categorizing items according to mood – but choice shortcuts like these are also useful in the realms of fashion, food, beauty, media and travel. As a fashion brand, for instance, could you group clothes and accessories based on the moods they produce – from calm to excitement, passion or romance?
  2. Heighten the in-store shopping experience by optimizing audio and other sensory elements to synthesize moods. Musical tracks can offer heightened level of mood personalization. For example, studies have shown how binaural beats are effective in increasing or holding back brain functions that control thinking or feeling. Consider allowing consumers to choose from a variety of playlists to listen to while shopping in order to simulate desired environments and evoke certain moods. Anxiety-reducing sounds that help elicit a sense of calm and ease tension can ensure consumers have a mindful shopping experience. Playing into other senses such as smell and touch can also have a profound effect on mood.
  3. Recognize the full spectrum of moods and emotions that people want to feel. Increasingly, consumers acknowledge that negative emotions like sadness and anger are just as important to feel as positive ones. Use your marketing and advertising to show a realistic picture of the human experience, with all the highs and lows that come with it.

Emotional intelligence is not merely a nice-to-have but a foundational strategy that can reshape the dynamics of consumer-brand relationships. As we look ahead to 2024 and beyond, ask your brand: How can you support and even inspire different emotions? In what ways could you assess mood to enhance personalization? Could you create a particular mood online or in-store by engaging all the senses? Mastering the emotional dimension of retail is mutually beneficial, keeping customers happy and loyal while boosting brand resonance – and that’s a good feeling.

Meabh Quoirin is the CEO and Co-owner of Foresight Factory. A LinkedIn Influencer and a Top Voice, Quoirin’s expertise lies in interpreting behaviors and signals to uncover what matters most to consumers today and tomorrow. An experienced bilingual public speaker, Quoirin is a key voice in the world of foresight and strategy. She regularly briefs and advises global brands such as BP, Jaguar Land Rover, Edgewell Personal Care, British Airways, Mars and Marks & Spencer at C-suite/board level, ensuring their strategy, culture and practices are future-ready, alleviate risk and deliver growth. Quoirin sits on the Advisory Board of Advertising Week and regularly speaks at high-profile industry events such as Ted X and Advertising Week around the world.

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