Air fresheners that make you feel good

Air fresheners that make you feel good

Air fresheners that make you feel good

free consumer insight report & sample

Emerging consumer demand for innovation in air fresheners to address broader indoor air quality needs and improve wellbeing & mood.

This article explores the key insights from the Aqdot 2021 air freshener survey of 500 consumers in UK, US, France, Italy and China.


For a free copy of the full report, please complete the form below, adding “AIR FRESHENER REPORT” in the message.



Consumers want home care products that offer improved wellbeing & mood

Many consumers have been spending more time at home due to the pandemic lockdown. This trend looks set to continue as anxiety over Covid-19 and its many variants remains high, and many plan to work from home for at least a few days a week on a permanent basis. They see their home as a safe space where they can shield from viruses & air pollution.

Consumers have broadened their personal hygiene & household cleaning routines, with many buying surface sanitising sprays like Procter & Gamble’s Microban and home air purifiers like Dyson’s Pure Humidify & Cool for the first time for example. They also want to de-stress in their homes, seeking home care products to enhance their mood, such as household cleaning products with premium fragrance scents (usually only found in premium personal care brands) launched by brands like Unilever’s Love Home and Planet with exotic fragrances like honey-tinged Bulgarian Rose entwined with Brazilian Murumuru.


Indoor air quality affects wellbeing & mood; consumers are increasing anxious about it

A recent study1 showed that household aerosols are more polluting than cars.

The Aqdot 2021 air freshener survey of 500 consumers in UK, US, France, Italy and China revealed that 69% of consumers are more concerned about indoor air quality since the Covid-19 pandemic. And whilst Carbon Monoxide is the most well-known pollutant of concern, other toxic substances of concern include aerosols which emit VOCs and formaldehyde which occurs from off-gassing – the process by which certain new household products made from wood or rubber give off the toxic gas.

But pollutants are not the only cause of consumers’ concern over poor indoor air quality. Many households nowadays have at least 1 allergy sufferer – as many as 71% of US households for example. 50% of UK households have at least one person with an underlying health condition at higher risk from Covid-19.

Common household malodours, as well as being pollutants of concern, affect not just the quality of indoor air from a health perspective but in terms of mood & wellbeing. 86% of consumers say that smelling malodour affects their mood – especially those who are most concerned about indoor air quality. This is particularly the case in China where the majority say that malodour affects their mood a great deal.

Our survey revealed that different malodours give rise to different negative emotions. Human smells (urine, vomit, flatulence, sweat, excretions) and Rotting Food smells (fish, rotten egg, milk, cheese, cooking fat) make people nauseous and distracted when working from home, whilst Tobacco & Environmental smells (mouldy, stale, musty air) are more likely to make them feel irritated or stressed.

Interestingly, Cooking Food smells (garlic & spices) negatively affect the mood of the Chinese the most. Oderase, the UK’s only fragrance-free air freshener brand, launched its Open Plan Living Odour-Erasing Spray in 2019 to appeal to consumers who dislike strong spicy cooking smells like curry from wafting from their kitchen to other rooms of the house.


A pleasant fragrance in the air has a positive effect on the mood & wellbeing of consumers

Having a fragrance in the air that you like has been shown to have positive emotional, behavioural and health effects on the household.

In the Aqdot survey, 86% of consumers said they had experienced one of these benefits, the most common one being “improved wellbeing due to breathing in cleaner air”, especially in the UK and USA, suggesting an association in our minds between a fresh scent and the perception of cleanliness.

In China, the key benefit experienced was improved concentration, productivity, and mental health whilst in France & Italy, the key benefit was having more energy. Other benefits cited include improved sleep, creativity, more harmonious relationships, greater romance & intimacy and even better-behaved pets!


The concept of an air freshener spray that could remove not just odours, but also pollutants, allergens and viruses, appeals to the vast majority of consumers

If a non-toxic spray was developed that safely removes odours, allergens, pollutants & viruses from the air, as well from pets, soft furnishings, fabrics & surfaces, and was available on Amazon for £2.99 for 300ml (ie. 50% more than the regular leading brand price in leading UK retailers at the time of writing in June 2021), 79% of consumers would be likely to buy it. This innovative concept appeals to a wide range of consumers but particularly strongly to allergy sufferers, dog owners and those who regularly shop for perfume. Over 88% of Febreze, Glade and Airwick air freshener spray users would buy it. It is clear that there is a real demand for multi-benefit home air sprays to tackle the problem of poor indoor air quality. Allergens, pollutants and viruses all pose a threat to consumers’ wellbeing in their homes and an air freshener spray is an ideal way of tackling them, but a new technology is needed that does not only capture malodours but these other home invaders too.

The benefits of such a new technology would not be limited to the home. Indoor air quality is a concern to consumers when they are out of home in public indoor spaces. 77% of UK consumers experience bad smells in their cars and most people wish that public toilets smelled fresher. In June 2020, over 70% of Brits regularly using buses, pubs, shops & gyms said they were concerned about the possibility of catching Covid 19 from airborne transmission in those indoor spaces. Whilst vaccines look set to boost consumer confidence in returning to the high street, most still want the best possible Covid-safe premises.

In Aqdot’s 2021 survey, consumers were asked about the idea of developing an automated spray in such places to help improve their indoor air quality and make them safer & more pleasant. If a busy indoor public place (eg. office, shop, café, train, etc), or a friend or relative’s home, had automatic sprays that periodically sprayed a non-toxic, fine, odourless mist into the air proven to safely capture & neutralise odours, allergens, and pollutants, 75% of consumers would be more likely to go inside.

Allergy sufferers, those who prefer fragrance-free products and those most concerned about indoor air quality would find this innovation most helpful.


Consumers want longer-lasting fragrance than their current AF delivers

Fragrance-free products are a growing trend as allergies are increasingly prevalent, and natural clean label products are increasingly sought after. Consumers are divided on the topic of the intensity of fragrance they want from their air freshener spray but more prefer a fragrance-free or lightly fragranced air freshener (51% overall, rising to 66% in China) and fewer (14%) prefer a strongly fragranced one.

Even more important than fragrance intensity is fragrance longevity. In the Aqdot survey, consumers were asked for how long they can / would like to smell the scent from their usual / ideal air freshener after spraying once. 81% of Americans said the scent of their air freshener lasts <1hour but 57% would like it ideally to last >1 hour (33% >3 hours). 75%+ top 4 brand users (Air Wick, Febreze, Glade, Yankee Candle) said the scent of their air freshener lasts <1 hour but 55%+ would like it ideally to last >1 hour (35%+ >3 hours).

But why is a long-lasting fragrance important to consumers? The top 2 reasons given were that it’s convenient as the user doesn’t have to keep spraying repeatedly and because they prefer a lasting scent instead of a short intense burst of fragrance that soon disappears. For some it’s about providing the emotional benefits (mood, sleep, concentration etc) for longer and for others it’s important that they can smell the aroma every time they walk into the room. Given the growth of continuous air fresheners and smart home innovation such as Miele’s Auro ambient smart hood, it is clear that there is an opportunity for air freshener brands to address consumers’ desire for long-lasting aromatherapy fragrance benefits: air fresheners that make you feel good.


Aqdot’s AqFresh™ 5-in-1 molecule capture & release technology offers long-lasting fragrance by controlling & prolonging the release of fragrance molecules over time

AqFresh™ has been proven to release preloaded fragrance molecules slowly over time for a prolonged sensory experience.

When AqFresh™ was added to a leading brand air freshener spray at just 0.5%, it was proven in blind expert panel sensory testing under laboratory conditions to provide a positive sensory fragrance experience that lasted for several hours. And its impact on prolonging the fragrance impact was phenomenal:

The addition of AqFresh™ to a leading air freshener spray provided up to 2x stronger fragrance intensity several hours after spraying than without using AqFresh™. When additional malodour was introduced after several hours, the air freshener with AqFresh™ was much more effective at reducing the malodour. It does this through molecular exchange – capturing malodour molecules and releasing fragrance molecules. In the laboratory tests, when malodour was introduced, it activated the AqFresh molecules that were still present in the room after several hours, which captured the malodour and released the fragrance. This malodour-activated release of an extra intense burst of fragrance, was measured as a significantly higher fragrance intensity than using the leading air freshener spray without AqFresh™.

When formulated into a simple fragrance-free air freshener for gas chromatography testing, AqFresh™ was proven to give a 93% reduction of urine malodour (TMA), whilst the leading air freshener brands included in the test made no significant reduction in the malodour.


Aqdot’s AqFresh™ 5-in-1 molecule capture & release technology removes odours, pollutants, allergens and viruses.

AqFresh™ (INCI: cucurbiturils) is the next generation of host-guest chemistry where its unique supramolecular structure enables capture of a wide spectrum of molecules:

  1. Eliminates a wide range of odours human, food, bathroom, pet & many others.
  2. Captures pollutants including formaldehyde, benzene, smoke and cleaning chemicals.
  3. Inactivates protein allergens found in pollen, dust mite, cat and dog dander.
  4. Neutralises viruses safely (including Sars-Cov-2 and Norovirus) without killing human cells so can be used in air and on pets, clothing, fabrics and soft furnishings


Consumers want a tailored fragrance experience

Our survey revealed that consumers want different fragrances on different occasions:
for example: lavender for going to sleep because it’s relaxing; citrus fruits whilst working, exercising or cleaning because it makes you feel happy & invigorated; vanilla for a romantic night in because it makes you feel loved, cosy & cocooned; and freshly baked bread during mealtimes.

They also want different fragrances in different indoor spaces: lavender / ocean spray in their bathroom; lavender / vanilla in their bedroom; citrus fruits / freshly baked bread in the kitchen; cotton fresh / vanilla in the living room; and ocean spray to freshen stale air in the AC or car vents in their car.

Of course, consumer preferences for different fragrances vary by country. The most popular scents to have in one’s home include: lavender (US), coffee (Italy/China), coconut (France), and cotton fresh (UK).


Air fresheners that make you feel good. Tailor your air freshener innovation programme based on the scent, room, occasion, mood, and emotional/behavioural benefit sought by your brands’ consumers.

For your free copy of the full 60-page research report, plus a free sample of the AqFresh™ 5-in-1 molecule capture & release technology in a unique air freshener prototype concept2, and an introduction to the revolutionary science behind it from the Cambridge-based innovators & scientists, fill in the form below adding “AIR FRESHENER REPORT” in the message.

This free Aqdot 2021 air freshener consumer insight report is based on:

  • 500 consumers in UK, US, France, Italy and China
  • Users of the top 30 global air freshener brands
  • Their consumer preferences for 18 fragrances, 10 emotional benefits, 12 behavioural benefits, 7 usage occasions, 5 indoor spaces + a variety of attitudinal statements

Report Contents:

  1. Survey methodology & sample
  2. Most common smells & where they come from
  3. Negative impact of malodour on mood & mental health
  4. Air freshener brands & types used
  5. Desired fragrance intensity & longevity
  6. Positive impact of fragrance on mood & mental health
  7. Consumer concerns regarding indoor air quality
  8. Indoor air quality benefits sought from air fresheners – e.g.
    1. Inactivating allergens
    2. Neutralising viruses
    3. Capturing pollutants
  9. Air freshener innovation concepts
  10. Key conclusions
  11. Introduction to AqFresh™ which safely removes odours, allergens, pollutants & viruses and provides long-lasting fragrance release
1 Source:
2 Subject to availability. 100 bottles to give away.