The LOHAS movement

With the growing popularity of healthy living trends comes growing confusion as companies flood the market with new products and services designed to reach these new customers by making bold claims to attract attention in a cluttered media environment.

Everything is connected. 

LOHAS customers are described as passionate about sustainability, health and wellness, personal development, resource conservation, corporate responsibility, social justice and natural & organic products. In 2012, they purchased $350 billion in goods and services worldwide.

“What you’re seeing is a demand for products of equal quality that are also virtuous.” Paul H Ray, The Cultural Creatives

The Cultural Creatives

Marketers created Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) segment in the late 1990s to identify an emerging demographic.

The growing market is a reaction to increasing pollution, excess processing, unsustainable production and unfair practices affecting society. The niche segment is now a recognized market in the USA, Western Europe while governments across Asia, including China, Korea, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan, actively promote LOHAS with certification, public campaigns and trade exhibitions.

Originally introduced as an industry term to help businesses identify customers in this broad but narrow niche market, LOHAS is now becoming a lifestyle brand across Asia, particularly in China, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan and Taiwan.

To confuse matters, the English acronym has been adopted as an English word by branders across Asia selling non-LOHAS products to the growing healthy living market. This is a classic example of marketing to trends.

Companies are jumping on board to market everything from plastic bottled water and produce to cafes and festivals. The response is positive in an environment where toxic haze, food scares and long working hours take their toll on physical health and personal well-being and customers have not yet learned to distinguish fear-based marketing from authentic communications about an authentic product.

There is still ground to cover in providing customers with information about the spirit of LOHAS. For example, in Hong Kong, the brand is synonymous with an MTR property that can boast no healthy or sustainability characteristics beyond its beyond a green outlook.

Today, almost every product category and service has a natural option.

  • Fair trade products
  • Green and sustainable building
  • Complementary and preventive medicine
  • Organic and natural personal care products
  • Mind-Body-Soul and holistic health literature
  • Household, paper goods and cleaning supplies
  • Energy efficient electronics/appliances
  • Hybrid and electric cars; city bicycles
  • Organic and locally grown food
  • Socially responsible investing
  • Sustainable or ecotourism

LOHAS customers are described as passionate about sustainability, health and wellness, personal development, resource conservation, corporate responsibility, social justice and natural & organic products. In 2012, they purchased $350 billion in goods and services worldwide.

“What you’re seeing is a demand for products of equal quality that are also virtuous.” Paul H Ray, The Cultural Creatives

The Cultural Creatives

lohas-water
Across Asia, LOHAS is also used to sell non-LOHAS products like this single-serving plastic bottled water — the opposite of sustainable.
HK heartbeat