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Conscious Consumers Study

Recent surveys on consumer behaviour shows the emergence of a newly defined consumer group devoted to a Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability (the LOHAS). Experts say it is having a marked impact on what and how customers buy.

Euromonitor International, a global market research company specialising in industries, countries and consumers, said the LOHAS has emerged as a “force to be reckoned with”.

Optical industry analysts said the trend is already having an impact on the eye care profession, and advise that identifying LOHAS patients and carefully considering how to meet their special needs could significantly increase business revenue.

Euromonitor International’s report said the LOHAS consumer group “has the environment and sustainability, but also corporate ethics at heart, and (has) the backing of sexy Hollywood stars”.

Being as aware as possible of this patient group offers the eye care professional the opportunity to appeal to their preference for eye care products which fall into this category

“LOHAS consumers are increasingly concerned about how food and other products are produced but have money to spend and love to consume. These are no tree-huggers out to collect brownie points: The LOHAS have a robust selfish interest in keeping their environment safe for themselves and their children, with an emphasis on wellness and spiritual issues.”1

More people are fitting into the definition of LOHAS and becoming ‘conscious consumers’, making purchasing and lifestyle choices that reflect their concerns about natural health and wellbeing, the environment and sustainability.2

Dr. Cynthia Jasper, an academic from the University of Wisconsin specialising in the area of consumer behaviour and retailing, said conscious consumers have been identified as a group that is interested in products that are inspired by nature, also known as “bio-inspired” products.3

Bio-inspired products take a system that occurs in nature and utilise it for other purposes. Dr. Jasper said conscious consumers are drawn to these types of products because they feel that nature’s designs are effective, efficient, and work in conjunction with the environment.

She said marketing to conscious consumers presents unique challenges. While they will not categorically reject all product claims, conscious consumers will carefully evaluate the merit of the claims themselves. The most logical way to market to this group, then, is to make them aware of the LOHAS products available to them, and then let them decide for themselves, Dr. Jasper said.

Patients with a Purpose

Conscious consumers represent 15 to 20 per cent of consumers across all regions’, with their share of the market representing more than AUD$575 billion globally in 20062, a number which will have increased dramatically towards the end of the decade.

Conscious consumers are the heaviest purchasers of socially-responsible products, with an emphasis on health and wellness issues.

Euromonitors International says while the LOHAS tend to be characterised as trendy young adults, the over 55 age group who “enjoy above average representation when it comes to questions of sustainability, not to mention the health aspect, the importance of which increases with age”.

Industry analyst, Bausch and Lomb Vice President – Global Clinical & Medical Affairs and Professional Services Vision Care, Dr. Joe Barr said the challenge for eye care professionals was to recognise and meet the needs of LOHAS patients.

“Make no mistake, this is a patient/consumer group with spending power, but they want to believe that a company, business, or brand is helping them make their community a more ethical, honest place.

“Being as aware as possible of this patient group offers the eye care professional the opportunity to appeal to their preference for eye care products which fall into this category.

“It is also the way of thinking for a growing number of your patients now and in the future. Being able to identify this segment of consumers, and knowing more about their core values and what drives their purchasing behaviour is likely to grow your practice,” Dr. Barr said.