Escapism: travelling through fragrances

Definition of escapism

: habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine.


Recently, reality has become quite tough for almost everyone, feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, merged into our daily routine, where the future seems unpredictable. Another aspect that characterizes this peculiar moment, is social isolation, the sensation of being far away from friends and family, not being able to visit them, leaves us with a feeling of frustration and impotence.


This is the scenario that attributed to the rise of a trend called ESCAPISM, which had been announced as one of the most important of 2019, but that has grown exponentially during 2020 in correlation to the outbreak of Covid-19 and its repercussions on people’s lifestyle.


The need to escape reality, on a mental and emotional level, is something that strongly appeals to consumers, who seek, most of the times unconsciously, ways to recall pleasant memories or arouse good feelings. Whether it be wanting to relive the memory of a holiday, travel through imagination to places they have never been to, or simply disconnect, entertaining their mind with “another story”.


From a technological point of view, this has been made possible thanks to virtual augmented reality, or high definition 3D screens that have entered our homes. People have turned to social media platforms that allow consumers to travel with their mind, thanks to the fun life of travel influencers or pages dedicated to exotic dreamy locations. There has been an increase in leisure activities, on a general scale, with the popularity of reality tv or gaming platforms.


We have noticed, that a large portion of consumers in fact, have turned to another growing escapism trend which allows them to escape from the noise. This audience, to the contrary of the previously mentioned, is looking to escape from the confusion of social media or from the hectic news broadcasting, searching for mental peace and to focus on what is important to them.


In order to find this bubble of emotional wellness, consumers have rediscovered the power of nature, of creating within their homes, more comforting spaces, to disconnect from the “outside” world. There is a phenomenon, called “nesting”, which describes the necessity of improving one’s home, by redesigning spaces, adding plants, ornaments, or for instance, using aromatherapy to feel comforted and safe. Some people have also turned to traditions, to habits, or feelings have brought them back to happy serene moments, when they felt grounded or stable.


How does all this, translate into current fragrance trends?


Analyzing the market and consumer’s behaviors, we have observed that consumers search for ways to escape consciously or unconsciously by choosing both home and personal care products which give them feelings of wellness or bring back to life pleasant memories.

Our creative team has identified that the escapism trend is playing a major role in the olfactive character of new launches in the personal care market across Europe and other parts of the world.

Even the simplest act of going under the shower for example, has become an occasion to explore the pleasures of traveling to a summer day, or diving into the freshness of a deep blue ocean.



We have seen the rise of personal care products that offer an emotional experience thanks to use of dreamy enveloping fragrances. Marine notes, tropical vibes, and exotic sensations are brought to life for the consumer.

Within these fragrances the following are used most:


  • Tropical fruity notes: such as papaya, mango, coco water & milk, pineapple, peach, sea salt, watermelon.
  • Exotic Floral notes: Especially white floral and solar floral notes like Ylang-Ylang, Frangipani, Orchid are combined with fresh notes or with spicy ones.
  • Marine, Citrus and Tea notes: in combination with some of the other notes above as well as ocean inspired fragrances.



For many people the most comforting feelings, the ones that make them feel safe, are the traditional and familial scents they grew up with; the ones that always make us feel at peace and at home.

These scents differ from country to country, from culture to culture. Whether it be the citrus and aromatic blend of a fresh cologne in Spain or Italy, the scent of lavender fields and violet flowers in France, or the herbal scent of freshly brewed black tea in England.

There are also many scents that transcend both culture and region. A recent study of consumers has shown that they are most attracted to and comforted by the following scents:


  • CLEAN: clean fresh sheets drying in the crisp air
  • LAVANDER: feeling of serenity arousing from this scent
  • BAKED GOODS: the smell of cakes or sweets baking in the oven
  • COFFEE: uplifting notes from freshly brewed coffee
  • VANILLA: a classical gourmand cozy scent
  • GREEN: fresh cut grass and green herbal notes


For this reason, we continuously see an influx of clean, soft, musky, enveloping scents, gourmand sweet notes, and creamy dessert like scents. These are the scents that consumers turn to when in need of being reassured, or in need of feeling good.

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