In response to these findings, Nivea has launched its brand purpose, “Care for human touch to inspire togetherness.” Nivea commits to pointing out the proven health benefits of physical touch and promoting skin-touch, as soon as circumstances permit. The brand pledges to invest 20 million euros in local skin-touch projects around the world, reaching 150,000 people, among them babies born preterm, the visually impaired and elderly with dementia.
“Nivea has always cared for skin and we have always cared for people. This is what defined Nivea from the start. With our contribution we want to make a difference. And we will use Nivea’s influence and reach to spread awareness of the positive health effects of human touch,” says Beiersdorf CEO Stefan De Loecker.
In the comprehensive study, nine out of ten respondents before and during the COVID-19 crisis stated that human touch is key to happy and fulfilled lives. Yet this universal desire stays unsatisfied.
According to the report, four out of five people living alone reported that they do not experience human touch on a daily basis. Almost two out of three respondents wish that they would receive more hugs. People living in single households and single parents, as well as teenagers and millennials, are most affected by loneliness. And 23% of single parents voiced strongly that they feel alone, while 24% of teenagers stated the same—versus a global average of 16%.
The physical and psychological health benefits of human touch are scientifically proven. But as touch takes a backseat in modern life, the respondents classified its health benefits as “new to them” and at the same time as important. For seven out of 10 people surveyed, human touch is not top of mind. Busy lifestyles, the rise of technologies, and confusion about the right level of touch get in the way of fulfilling people’s needs for skin-to-skin contact. Better knowledge of the benefits of touch would inspire 86% to include more human touch in their daily lives.
According to Beiersdorf, COVID-19 has underscored the importance of human touch yet made it more difficult to experience the skin-touch that people need. Most people across the globe have accepted the need to be socially distant and have adapted their behavior accordingly for now. The survey shows that people around the world have sacrificed physical touch during the pandemic and often endured loneliness as a result; 75% of people surveyed said that isolation has made them realize how important physical touch is for health. More than a third of people globally expect inner circle (family, close friends) touch to increase after the crisis, while outer circle touch (colleagues, acquaintances) is expected to decline in the long run as a result of the pandemic.
“Driving awareness of the need for and the health benefits of skin-touch is crucial. We will take on this role and continue to be the custodian of human touch and togetherness," explained Ralph Zimmerer, VP-global Nivea identity & brand capability. "While we are forced to stay socially distanced from each other during the pandemic, we have to maintain and deepen our close relationships as a shield against loneliness. Within our close family, skin-touch is therefore more important than ever."
With its new initiative #CareForHumanTouch, Nivea supports skin-touch projects to promote the quality of life for people at risk of loneliness like babies born preterm, visually impaired individuals and elderly with dementia. The brand also aims to make 100 million people aware of the proven health benefits of skin-touch by 2025.
Nivea kicks off its purpose launch with a documentary film that showcases the true story of preterm born twins from Hamburg, and how one twin’s life was saved in the incubator by the skin-touch of her sister.