Szakály, Zoltán – Pető, Károly – Popp, József – Jasák, Helga
Sustainable consumption is a megatrend influencing consumer habits today. Our research was carried out to find out information – with the help of international and national literature – about the general and differentiating characteristics and the size of the consumer group devoted to sustainable consumption. Our aim was also to sum up the economic importance of the segment. This “new type” of consumer-buyer group is called LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability) by professionals. An important feature of the segment is that they consider all the three pillars of sustainable development (economic, social and ecological) in their shopping decisions. LOHAS consumers live their life health-consciously. Their devotion to sustainability is reflected in purchasing environmental-friendly, socially responsible products. Besides this, it can also be claimed about them that they are early adopters and they are able to influence the opinion of their friends and family. They are less price-sensitive, and they are characteristically brand-loyal. These characteristics make them the attractive target of a lot of marketing activities. It is hard to describe the LOHAS lifestyle only with demographic features since their devotion to sustainable consumption is determined by mostly personal values and the individual’s value order. LOHAS lifestyle has five, well defined value categories that direct the individuals’ behavior. They are authentic values, health-conscious values, ethic values, individualist values and environmental-conscious values. The LOHAS group is also characterized by such a hybrid lifestyle in which different characteristics merge with each other. The LOHAS “phenomenon” is mostly characteristic of the western world, but it is becoming widespread in the Asian region’s consumer society. In the developed countries the size of the group may reach 25%. For today the approach and value order characterizing the LOHAS consumer’s lifestyle have appeared within the Hungarian population as well. Hungarian researchers estimate the size of this group different – between 4 and 30% – depending on the values expected during segmentation. The LOHAS trend influences all the branches of economy calling companies for innovation that meets the needs of the consumers who prefer hybrid lifestyle, and for environmental and social responsibility. However, the strongest influence appears in the food industry. It is worth mentioning that some members of the tertiary sector have also realized the opportunities lying behind them. Besides the economic importance of the LOHAS consumer group, it is important to mention that their inner values and views envisage a healthier society and a cleaner and more livable environment.
The Hungarian Journal of Nutrition Marketing. 2015. 2 (1) 3-9.