LOHAS: a new breed of eco-minded shoppers

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"Talk to most people and they would be aware of the need to go green and the offer of green products and services, but that doesn't necessarily translate into action," continues Lee.

"Plenty of people say they are going to do it, but not that many people actually are... Ten per cent is really a niche market, whichever way you look at it."

So what's stopping Australians from hopping on board with LOHAS?

Market research group TNS Global reports cost as one of the greatest barriers to going green. And it is true that many LOHAS products and services, due to their higher quality and the labour-intensive nature of their production, are dearer than conventional alternatives.

"You're always having to pay a premium, sometimes around 20 per cent," says Lee.

Companies in the LOHAS market then, will need to find ways to produce products in an environment friendly way at either the same or cheaper price than 'regular' products on offer. If they can't, then attracting new Lohasians will be that much harder.

Uncertainty is also keeping people away from genuine health- and eco-friendly products, with TNS Global reporting that one in four Australians are put off by "confusion and conflicting information" surrounding the green market.

Hope even for the Laggards

And of course there are those who are averse to the very idea of green consumerism.

Nine per cent of Australians are what Baker refers to as Lohasian "Laggards".

"Fundamentally what they're saying," he says, "is either they don't believe environmental problems are real, or that they may be real, but 'hey, it's not my responsibility to solve it'."

But Laggards aside, we can look at the lack of current Lohasian converts with optimism - because it's a gap full of Australians starting to lean towards Lohasian tendencies, eager and willing to take part in this exciting consumer movement.

And the good news is the marketing gurus say the LOHAS market is here to stay, so there's plenty of time to get involved.

Lohasian Leaders "will continue to sustain demand and interest in green products," says Chalke.

"Their enthusiasm will keep the manufacturers producing and the people talking and...may even push the doubters and the sceptics into doing something tangible...[even if] they won't be passionately committed to Gaia worship and all things green."

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