Feature

LOHAS: a new breed of eco-minded shoppers

Yoga pose in amongst nature

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One thing's for sure, however: Lohasians are agents of change.

"In many respects they're leading the way towards more responsible consumption and production of products and services...and ultimately towards a more sustainable future for us all," Baker says.

One way they are doing this is by driving the demand for the production of green products and services.

As Chalke points out, you only need to take a stroll down your local supermarket aisle to see the boom in healthier-for-you, healthier-for-the-environment items lining the shelves.

This is thanks in large part to businesses striving to operate and produce "in a more LOHAS way", adds Baker. "Which means they're focussed on reducing their environmental damage... [They're] wary of the upstream and downstream impacts of what they create, they're looking for ways to support their local communities, and they're creating better, sustainable products."

Leading the pack

Lohasians are also characterised as being among the first to adopt new sustainable goods and services on the market.

They were the ones wearing hemp, using biodiesel and eating fresh and organic food long before it was fashionable.

And by continuing to support the companies and products they believe are leading the eco-way (and being willing to pay a price premium to boot) Lohasians are helping make LOHAS more accessible to 'mainstream' consumers.

Their dollars, Baker says, assist start-up eco-businesses in staying afloat and, over time, make LOHAS products and services cheaper and more widely available.

Mobium Group also reports that at the end of the day, Australians most often turn to friends and family for information regarding sustainable and trustworthy products and services (as opposed to listening to advertising, for example, or conducting brand research themselves).

Because Lohasian Leaders make a habit of being well informed and of looking behind brands to understand company values and practices, they also have an important role to play in helping others make the right choices and in encouraging people towards eco-friendly consumption.

Hurdles to clear

There are some barriers to the good Lohasians can do, however, as marketing reporter and author Julian Lee points out.

"Sure, they can raise awareness amongst their other [Lohasian] mates around the dinner table over a bottle of organic wine, but is that going to convince someone that's got to feed a family on a budget, who sticks with the same brands because they're cheap and they know they'll do the job, and who's not that concerned about saving the world? No."

Lee hits an important nail on the head. Because while research shows that over 90 per cent of Australians say they care about the environment and 82 per cent wish to express this in their purchasing choices, only 10 per cent of us - the Lohasian Leaders - are strongly committed to purchasing sustainable products.

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