LOHAS – the largest market you have never heard of

Some facts in English

The above statement was published in the New York Times 2003. Since then researchers and consumer experts are learning more and more about this influential group. LOHAS is an acronym for Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability. It is not only a cluster of individuals, but also a definition of the market for products and services that these individuals prefer. The market consists of several different segments ranging from organic food and spa & yoga services, to fuel efficient cars and natural health products and much, much more.

The interesting aspect of LOHAS is that they are linked together not primarily by demographics, like age or income, but by their values and beliefs. In the US, Japan, Australia and in certain countries in Europe extensive research has been carried out in order to define and understand these people. The current estimate is that LOHAS consists of about 100 million people worldwide and that approximately 20% of the population in Europe may be labelled LOHAS consumers.

The soul of the new consumer

These people are demanding, creative, active, well informed and influential. They serve in many markets as early adopters of new consumer behaviour and they tell their friends if they are dissatisfied or enthusiastic with their trials. The LOHAS individual can be found in most layers of the society. They cannot be boxed in by demographic instruments, but notably there are more women than men, more 30 something’s and fewer on the countryside.  What holds this group together is their resilience in their quest for “The good life with a conscience”. The duality of having it all – but not on someone else’s expense. Firstly, LOHAS are definitely into eco and organic, but beyond environmental movements. They are not militant or extremists. Secondly they are global citizens. They love to travel, visit new cultures and learn foreign languages. Thirdly, they have a passion for fairness and equality, in the workplace, the society and between developing and developed countries.

Authenticity rules

LOHAS are seriously critical to anything that may be labelled as “fake”. They are the ones that read the small prints; look up brands on Internet forums and like staying informed by unbiased reviews. To appeal to LOHAS brands need to be genuine and trustworthy, from the inside out. LOHAS individuals tend to perceive brands as authentic when things are done exceptionally well, executed individually and extraordinarily produced by someone demonstrating human care. Originality in design or being first of its kind is also reinforcing authenticity. Artificial, synthetic run of the mill products are rejected, as well as imitations and products made by an exploited workforce or from abused animals.

Permission to enjoy

It may be a cruel world. The economic and ecological state of the world is not making things easier. Most people like to indulge themselves if they have the means to do it, especially when it’s cold out there. LOHAS individuals love music, travel, social gatherings, beautiful things and food. They are true “Foodies”; people that like to cook, eat and discuss food and drinks. Taste is just as important as the healthy aspect. Pleasure should not only be a sensory experience, but also good for your body and soul. They make sure it’s organic and fair trade certified. LOHAS individuals search for products that need less transportation and CO2 emission, use fresh natural local ingredients, avoid additives and derive beauty from nature. LOHAS characters are social creatures and enjoy being around other people. They like to look good at work and when they meet friends. They read magazines rather than watch TV. They blog and use social media. They listen and take notice of public figures that has esteem. They do not take part in the superficial “bling bling” show-off, celebrity adoration circus.

Radically proactive – thinking conservatively about nature

There are no reruns in the terrestrial phase we are in. If we are to believe scientist, we need at least two more planets before the year 2050 in order for supply to meet demand in an ever increasing global population. Climate change issues needs to be settled by then. Exploitation and unfair trade must be eliminated if we are to avoid cultural and national conflicts. The most powerful institutions in the world today are not political. Rather organisations and corporations. By taking long term responsibility, all corporations and organisations can truly contribute to a better world.