LOHAS? Naturalist? Watch Green Marketing Take Shape
The Green market is growing. That´s good news. The first professional marketing studies of the segment are being published. But as professionalism takes off, bad ideas might become the new standard.
Of the few facts about the Green market that can be determined with a degree of precision are its components. There´s a significant trend underway to allude to these as “Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability“. LOHAS for short. In a recently released study of the LOHAS market by marketing research giant Nielsen and the Natural Marketing institute, LOHAS´ market size was put at $209 billion. This includes services as well as goods that are purchased by ´consumers who have a meaningful sense of environmental and social responsibility and incorporates those values into their purchase decisions.´
That is marketing speak for plain ole eco friendly shoppers. The data for the study goes all the way back to 2002. The two research houses have integrated various tools that the other made and are now offering in depth advice to companies looking to green up their production, especially consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers looking for ideas on product development, positioning, pricing, communication and distribution.
LOHAS might seem like a rather clear cut market, but not everybody that shops green is classified in identically the same category as every other (green) shopper. NMI divides the market up into five groups. Apart from LOHAS, they classify naturalites, drifters, conventionals and unconcerneds.
FallingFruit.com features an interview with LOHAS Journal experts who have an interesting conversation which gives you a great idea about this market, whether you are a consumer or marketer. The radio show describes LOHAS as the largest market you´ve never heard about. But that´s either an exaggeration or it´s bound to change fast.
LOHAS is becoming a household item in investment circles and this is where the whole business begins to scare me. For instance, last year, the NMI collaborated with the investment community to launch the LOHAS index. This is a ranking of the top fifty most ethical companies. The list might surprise you; at the top is Microsoft. McDonald´s is in the ranking as well. Who are they kidding you might wonder. When the index was released the creators said that they had included direct consumer input when compiling the list. Consumers had been way less tolerant of companies´ social behavior than the financial analysts. But also way more ignorant, apparently, according to the finance experts. Nevertheless it still is hardly the list I would expect to see.
As the LOHAS market takes shape, it will be incremental to have independent bodies verify that what´s being earmarked as LOHAS actually stands the test.