Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reaching the LOHAS Consumer

Here are some interesting demographics regarding the size, media habits and location of Americans concerned with issues of sustainability and health. The all important LOHAS segment (acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) represents a $200 billion rapidly growing market for goods and services that appeal to consumers who have a meaningful sense of environmental and social responsibility and incorporate those values into their purchase decisions. According to Ad Age, the nation's shelves will be stocked with more than 1,500 new products featuring green messages by the end of this year.

This is what the consumer environment, based on environmental values looks like*:
  • LOHAS (19% of U.S. adults): LOHAS consumers are dedicated to personal and planetary health. Not only do they make environmentally friendly purchases, they are active stewards of the environment.
  • NATURALITES (15% of U.S. adults): This segment has a strong personal health focus through consumables. NATURALITES are not, however, as committed to the environment nor driven to purchase eco-friendly durable goods.
  • DRIFTERS (25% of U.S. adults): These consumers have good intentions, but factors other than the environment influence their actual behavior. They are, however, driven to sustainability based on the trendiness of the topic.
  • CONVENTIONALS (24% of U.S. adults): This very practical segment doesn‟t have far-reaching green attitudes, but they do have environmental behaviors such as recycling and energy conservation.
  • UNCONCERNED (17% of U.S. adults): Simply put, the environment is not a priority to consumers in this segment.

The NATURALITES are an interesting niche - a group that has a strong personal health focus but are not driven to purchase eco-friendly products. This is likely a group we’ll see more and more products targeted at with messaging around simplicity and transparency of ingredients. For example, in March 2009, Haagen-Dazs launched a new premium product line called Five. Five was developed with fewer, more recognizable ingredients (the name reflects the number of ingredients in the product: milk, cream, sugar, eggs and a natural flavor such as vanilla bean.) In just eight months, Five sales have grown to account for 10% of Haagen-Dazs business.

In terms of targeted media vehicles, it is interesting to note that the LOHAS segment are heavy users of both magazine and the Internet, while NATURALITES under-index in heavy usage of the internet but are heavy TV users.

Profile of LOHAS Consumers

Heavy Media Usage

% more likely to be a heavy media user



Heavy Magazine User



Heavy TV User



Heavy Internet User



Source: MRI 2009 Survey of the American Consumer

And if you ever wonder what the top DMAs for buying organic food are, here they are:

Top 10 DMAs in which reside adults who buy foods labeled natural or organic:

1. San Diego, Calif.

2. Seattle/ Tacoma

3. Philadelphia

4. San Francisco/ Oakland/ San Jose

5. Washington, D.C. (Hagerstown, Md.)

6. Portland, Ore.

7. Denver

8. Baltimore

9. Sacramento/ Stockton/ Modesto, Calif.

10. Colorado Springs/ Pueblo, Colo.

* source: MRI