What is LOHAS?

Fact: Consumer spending on LOHAS products and services in Australia exceeds $26Bn.

LOHAS is an acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability and is based on the work of US sociologist Paul H. Ray.

LOHAS describes a type of consumer that actively seeks out healthier and more sustainable lifestyle, product and service options and also the market for the products and services they buy.

 

Values Diagram

‘V+W=L’ adapted from a presentation prepared by Paul H. Ray

LOHAS consumers’ lifestyle and purchasing decisions are informed by their values regarding personal, family and community health, environmental sustainability and social justice.

These values and attitudes are driving the markets for products as diverse as renewable energy, solar hot water, organic foods, recycled and sustainable homewares, domestic rainwater tanks, sustainable timbers, natural cleaning products, alternative medicine, yoga and eco-tourism.

LOHAS Australians have also been at the forefront of pressure for government and corporate action on climate change, protection of ecosystems and sustainable water resources.

Origins

LOHAS builds on foundational work from the mid 1990’s in the United States by sociologist Paul Ray, who undertook extensive research which found that nearly 25% of the U.S. population identified the concepts of health, sustainability and social justice as major elements forming their world view and how they chose to live their lives.

Ray called this group the ‘Cultural Creatives’ and described them as innovators and leaders of cultural change, voracious consumers of art and books and also major drivers of a type of consumption that demonstrated a recognition of individual and community impact.

However at the time of Ray's early work, there was little broad recognition of the true size and power of this cultural phenomenon as it was difficult to define from a market perspective and defied ‘normal’ demographic stereotypes.

In 1999, the term LOHAS was coined by Conscious Media, founders of the LOHAS Journal in an attempt to define the rapid emergence of a global trend to more conscious platforms of choice in a wide range of industries.

The growth of organic and natural foods, complimentary medicine and personal development was viewed as the convergence of shifting consumer values based on sustainable, environmental and socially responsible platforms.

LOHAS describes the marketplace for these products and services and the consumers that shop them.

The existence of a common thread of ‘values’ that is consistent in consumer behaviors across each of the defined marketplace segments allows for a targeted approach to attracting and retaining customers with a LOHAS lifestyle.

Longitudinal research shows these values, rather than being fringe and marginalised, are increasingly becoming broad based and entrenched across a wide cross-section of the population, driving changes in consumer markets, politics and society.

Source: Mobium Group Pty Ltd, Living LOHAS© Report, www.mobium.com.au


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