Annual LOHAS Survey Finds High Consumer Interest in Corporate Responsibility

Annual LOHAS Survey Finds High Consumer Interest in Corporate Responsibility

According to the 2005 LOHAS Consumer Trends Database, 72% of LOHAS consumers state that providing healthy foods to their family is a top priority, 89% care about social issues such as protecting workers' rights, and 95% care about protecting the environment.

"LOHAS" is an acronym for Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability, and describes a segment of the U.S. population for whom health, society, values-driven beliefs, and the environment are extremely important. LOHAS consumers, who represent almost one-quarter of the population, are highly driven by their own personal wellness and the health of the planet.

These numbers are stable compared to previous years' studies, says the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), which publishes the annual survey. In addition, specific new focus in the 2005 LCTD has also been given to the issue of corporate social responsibility, including consumer interest, drivers, the role in purchase behavior, and sources for communication.

"It is clearly evident that LOHAS consumers integrate a range of personal values and belief systems into their behavior," says NMI. “They are heavy users of organic food, natural personal care, hybrid cars, and other products that are healthier for themselves, society, and the environment. This passionate consumer segment is also an early adopter of new products, likely to influence others, and less price-sensitive - thereby driving the growth of these (and many other) markets.”

Hybrid transportation exemplifies this well, says NMI. “LOHAS consumers are three times more likely to plan to purchase a hybrid vehicle in the next year compared to non-LOHAS consumers. Similarly, LOHAS consumers’ consumption of organic foods/beverages and natural/organic personal care products is more than twice that of non-LOHAS consumers. As so, the market size of many LOHAS-related industries continues to thrive and grow as many consumers integrate healthy living into their lifestyles.”

For manufacturers and marketers, this represents both an opportunity and a challenge. “Certainly there is still a great deal of market potential for many LOHAS products and services,” says Steve French, Managing Partner at NMI. “However, with an increasingly diverse audience, the marketing mix and communications strategies need to evolve.

For example, positioning LOHAS products with more conventional product benefits, such as 'better for children’ or 'cost-effective’ has more appeal to the expanding consumer base than some LOHAS-related benefits such as ‘safe for the environment’ or ‘saves energy’. This fact alone has tremendous implications on many brand positioning platforms and communications strategies,” states French.

The annual survey is a nationally projectable consumer database based on annual research of more than 2,000 general population households with regards to their attitudes, behaviors and product usage within healthy, environmental and sustainable products including many categories of consumer packaged goods, transportation, electronics, appliances, investing, renewable power, and green building products/services.