million adult Americansor 30 percent of the U.S. adult populationmake
purchasing decisions based on their personal, social and environmental
values, according to a research report by the Natural Marketing
Institute entitled Understanding the LOHAS Market: Identifying the
LOHAS Consumer & Business and Branding Opportunities. The study
suggests that the attitudes, behaviors and usage patterns of this
large and growing LOHAS consumer group (LOHAS stands for Lifestyles
of Health and Sustainability) are significantly affected by their
concern about human and planetary healththey want to integrate
their values with their brand choices and purchasing behaviors.
Who are these emerging LOHAS consumers? They are individuals who
say they are willing to spend up to 20 percent more for LOHAS products
and services. Seventy-five percent agree completely that their purchase
decisions are based on the health and sustainability effects on
the world and the environment. They also have a high degree of influence
over othersthey are almost three times as likely as the general
population to influence and teach others about the benefits of LOHAS-related
products and services. Finally, this group has a significantly higher
likelihood to associate personal values with companies and their
brands (almost 2.5 times higher than general-population consumers).
And yet, in his column in this issue of green@work, Ecos president
Paul Gilding talks about the dual personalities found in contemporary
consumers like the ones abovequalities that are sometimes
at odds with one another. As he describes it: There is no
caring, sharing, green consumer any more than there
is an environment destroying, forest munching, SUV consumer.
We all have a bit of both in us.But which one will prevail
in the long-term?
It is time for the American public, or at least the 63 million adult
Americans from the NMI survey aboveto put their money where
their values are. While this issue of green@work predominately focuses
on the environmental efforts of the auto industryproducers
of a consumer product that represents a sizeable chunk of any purchasers
disposable incomewe need to remember that the choices we make
in all of our purchases, from the automobiles we drive to the coffee
we drink, do make a statement. Its especially important this
time of year, as we head to the shopping mall or the cybermall for
our holiday buyingwe must be conscious about which of our
consumer mindsets will make the purchasing decisions. Earth-friendly
choices are out there and, happily, increasingly easier to find
each day. Retailers and manufacturers are watching what we buy.
What will end up in your shopping cart?