LOHAS stands for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. The LOHAS market is comprised of individuals from all age groups, level of education and socio-economic backgrounds with one common dominator: values-based purchasing decisions. Collectively the LOHAS market is a primary driver of the positive change we’re seeing take place in all sectors of business. If you’re trying to market an organization in sustainability, holistic health, or community development, it’s time to get to know LOHAS!
What are the LOHAS Market Segments?
The LOHAS market is generally divided into six main segments. Rather than being new markets, LOHAS markets are mostly the same as mainstream markets, but each with a values-based twist. The descriptions below summarize the full text from the official LOHAS website here.
Products & Services: alternative energy cars, power sources, off grid building practices and supplies
The sustainable economy segment is a growing market approaching $150 billion annually. This sector includes businesses that are creating solutions to redesign our infrastructure. This sector is predominately business-to-business sales. There are some business-to-consumer products for energy solutions. Typically, business-to-consumer technologies have been scaled to a wholesale level where stores such as Lowes and Home Depot make their products available to the consumer.
Products & Services: organic & natural foods, natural & organic household cleaning supplies, nutritional supplements, yoga, personal trainers, fitness & health programs
The healthy lifestyles segment is one of the fastest growing segments in the LOHAS mix and the first to enter the mainstream market place. Consumers who are part of this segment may be part of other segments, but aren’t necessarily gearing up to take their home off the grid. While it may be rewarding for these consumers to know they are helping the planet, the core motivator of this segment is value placed on personal health and the health of their family. The healthy lifestyle segment could be viewed as the gateway drug into the other LOHAS market segments.
Products & Services: nutritional coaching, meditation, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, aromatherapy, chiropractic therapy, herbal therapy and homeopathy
Alternative healthcare has experienced a large amount of growth in recent years. Due to restrictions found in the majority of the health insurance policies, alternative healthcare isn’t able to fully tip into the mainstream consciousness yet. However, positive movement is happening, as many companies are making the option of flexible spending accounts available to their employees, which enable more freedom in choosing health care options.
Products & Services: self-help books, seminars, retreat centers, life coaching, courses & mobile apps to increase success with goals
The personal development sector is growing exponentially. Some credit growth to various forms of burnout tied to a 21st century lifestyle. Growth could also be due to some side effects of pursuing a sustainable lifestyle. When studying more sustainable community and agriculture models, people often look to the various indigenous cultures. In their studies they are exposed the concepts of inner reflecting outer and other ancient principles which most personal development material is based in. Once being exposed to these principles, it’s hard to look at source causes of problems in the environment and society without also looking at yourself.
Products & Services: ecotourism, organic clothing & house wares, environmentally conscious cleaning products and energy efficient home appliances & electronics
The ecological lifestyles segment is closely tied to the healthy lifestyles segment. However, the ecological lifestyles segment is more focused on the sustainable aspect of lifestyle choices. Where someone in the healthy lifestyles segment may drive to Whole Foods in an SUV, someone in the ecological segment would drive to the local co-op in a hybrid. They are both buying the same healthy food, but the ecological lifestyle consumer considers the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions in addition to impacts on health. These consumers tend think in whole systems.
Socially Responsible Investing
Products & Services: investment firms & financial advisors
The socially responsible investing market has all the traditional components of investing but with a specific focus on investing in ventures that are socially responsible (and often times environmentally responsible). This market has been on the rise since 2003 and shows now signs of slowing down. Many invest in socially responsible ventures so that their wealth is going towards a venture that is uplifting to humanity in someway. However, investors’ making good returns on their investments is what fuels the continuously increasing growth in this market.
Growing Market Segment
Below is an excerpt from on of the most recently published studies on LOHAS market growth. You can find the full findings at The Green Money Journal LOHAS Market Report 2012.
The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), in conjunction with Silvercliffe Media Inc., announced recently that consumer spending within the U.S. LOHAS market for 2005 was $209 billion.
The research study was conducted over a six-month period in 2006 and represents data pulled from an extensive array of primary and secondary research from industry groups, the U.S. government, and other sources. Based on this research, U.S. consumer LOHAS spending by the five general segments for 2005 is as follows (with representative sub-categories listed):
- Personal Health: $118 billion (includes natural/organic foods, supplements, personal care, alternative medicine, yoga, health/fitness, media)
- Eco-Tourism: $24.2 billion (includes eco-travel and adventures, new age/spiritual travel)
- Alternative Energy: $400 million (includes green pricing programs, renewable energy certificates (RECs))
- Alternative Vehicles: $6.1 billion (includes hybrid vehicles, biodiesel, car sharing)
- Green Building: $49.7 billion (includes ENERGY STAR products and homes, other green-certified homes, materials and solar panels)
- Natural Lifestyles: $10.6 billion (includes home furnishings/supplies, natural pet products, cleaners, apparel, philanthropy)
Now that you have a basic understanding of the LOHAS markets it’s time to look more closely at the psychology of the LOHAS consumer and how to best communicate with them. This will be covered in part 2 of this post, coming soon (will post a link here when it’s up).
You can find more published studies & research on the LOHAS market here. Happy digging!