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What is LOHAS from LOHAS8

The LOHAS marketplace is a grass roots phenomenon, based on consumer-driven demand. Sociologist Paul H. Ray, co-author of The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People are Changing the World, first identified the concept.

“Cultural Creatives are the 'leading edge' thinkers and creators of a new culture in America, and they are the most influential opinion leaders for your products. They dominate the market for natural foods, alternative healthcare, and for products and services related to personal growth and spirituality.”

                                                                         - Paul H. Ray

Ray found that the issues popular in the 1960s, such as peace, ecology and human rights, had survived, taken root and evolved to become governing principles for millions of people.

Variously referred to as Cultural Creatives, conscious consumers or LOHAS consumers, this growing population in the U.S. — up 7 percent from 2002 to 2003 — has strong concerns about human rights, fair trade, the environment, sustainable practices and spiritual and personal development. And as consumers, they want to integrate their values with the products and services they buy and use.

According to Ray, when price and quality are equal, 76 percent of consumers would switch brands or retailers if a company were associated with a good cause.

For marketers of healthy and sustainable goods and services, one of the most interesting things about this consumer base is that they are likely to shop across a broad spectrum of products and services. For example, shoppers of natural and organic foods are highly likely to employ complementary or alternative medicine as well as utilize personal development concepts such as massage, yoga or Pilates.

The challenge for business, then, is to:

1) IDENTIFY the consumer for LOHAS products and services.

2) EXPLORE opportunities to align with other sustainable and healthy industries and to work together to expand the overall market for sustainable and healthy goods and services through co-marketing and business-to-business trade.

3) UNDERSTAND the values that drive the consumer to purchase LOHAS goods and services.

4) MEET the complex demands for LOHAS products and services.


In a groundbreaking research report published by Conscious Media Inc. and the Natural Marketing Institute in 2002, called Understanding the LOHAS Market, four groups of consumers were identified, led by LOHAS Consumers -- the core values-based consumer group.

From an updated and expanded research report, released in June 2003 by the Natural Marketing Institute, the following overriding characteristics of the four consumer groups were identified:

(68 million U.S. adults; 32.3% of the population, up 7% from 2002)
Significantly affected by their concern for health—the health of their families, the sustainability of the planet, their personal development, and the future of society.

(83 million U.S. adults; 39.2% of the population; up 1% from 2002)
Tend to move from place to place with regard to personal ideals, environmental platforms, and the overall relevance of sustainability.

47% stationary
15% moving toward CENTRISTS
39% moving toward LOHAS.

(52 million U.S. adults; 24.7%; of the population; no change from 2002 Congregate toward the central ground when it comes to dealing with health, sustainability, and social issues.

(8 million U.S. adults; 3.9%of the population; down 3% from 2002)
Caught up in the day-to-day challenges, not necessarily looking out for tomorrow.


Choose environmentally friendly products
Protecting the environment
Products from recycled materials
Willing to pay 20% more for sustainably made products
Teach family/friends benefits of environmentally friendly products
Purchase decision based on effect on world
Renewable energy sources
Choose sustainable-source products over conventional ones
Social consciousness
Prefer products manufactured in a sustainable manner
Sustainable agriculture products
Buy products from companies with values like their own


The LOHAS consumer cannot be identified by demographics alone, but this group has some commonalities:

A slightly older group of consumers
75% are 1 or 2 member households
Average income
Highly educated; 16% with post-grad degrees
Least likely to be married
61% female
Geographical pockets of strength


The following table details the percentage of each consumer segment who stated that they agree “completely/somewhat” with: “I will usually buy products from companies whose values are most like my own”

General Population 62.4% + 7.6%
LOHAS CONSUMERS 90.0% + 3.2%
NOMADICS 63.3% + 9.7%
CENTRISTS 31.0% - 6.1%
INDIFFERENTS 21.1% - 5.4%


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