Posted on November 6, 2008

Over 80% of U.S. adults show some green motivation, says NMI

LOHAS segmentation reflects increasing sophistication of sustainability marketplace

More than 80 percent of the U.S. adult population shows some type of green motivation, according to new research by Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).

The Harleysville, Pa.-based market research and consulting firm said the sustainability movement is being driven by more than the consumer disciples of LOHAS (Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability).

While that LOHAS segment is widely regarded as having the strongest environmental, social, and corporate social responsibility values and behaviors, representing 17 percent of U.S. adults, or about 38 million consumers, NMI said it has identified three other consumers segments engaged in various realms of sustainability.

In 2004, only LOHAS consumers were “sustainability active.” NMI estimates U.S. LOHAS products to be a $209 billion industry, and projects U.S. sales of LOHAS products to be more than $400 billion by 2010.

“Today, the high percentage of American adults who represent a target for green and eco-friendly products and services makes sustainability much more attractive and increases the imperative for businesses to engage with consumers of all types,” NMI said in a statement.

NMI’s LOHAS consumer model is comprised of five unique segments: LOHAS, Naturalites, Drifters, Unconventionals and Unconcerned.

Drifters (24 percent of all U.S. adults) are driven by trends, and although currently engaged in sustainability their behaviors are not deeply rooted. They are price sensitive and are more likely to be eco-concerned if affected personally, NMI said.

Drifters’ behavior has shown some of the most dramatic increases over time, the research firm said.

Conventionals (26 percent of all U.S. adults) is a very practical segment and does not have green attitudes but does have some “municipal” environmental behaviors such as recycling, energy conservation, and other similar behaviors.

This segment’s behavior is driven more by cost savings or a desire to waste less than by environmental consciousness.

The percentage of LOHAS consumers has remained stable since 2005 while all of the other segments show noteworthy shifts. Drifters and Conventionals, in particular, have increased significantly.

“These shifts are reflective of both rising environmental and social concerns, as well as the current economic situation,” NMI said. “The challenge to marketers is to optimize messaging and align their products and services with the dynamic nature of the consumer.”

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