In 2000, the new millennium was welcomed with great fanfare and hope that future success would mirror the unprecedented growth the spa industry experienced during the 1990s. Few could have predicted the dramatic changes the country’s economy, businesses and international status would endure because of the events of September 11, 2001, deep recession and environmental catastrophes. Even fewer could imagine the dramatic effects these events would have on consumerism and purchase decisions in the spa industry.
Sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson drew upon 13 years of survey research studies on more than 100,000 Americans, including 100 focus groups and dozens of in-depth interviews, for their book The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People are Changing the World (Three Rivers Press, 2001). The book first identified cultural creatives as a group that cares deeply about saving the planet, relationships, peace, social justice, spirituality and self-expression. Ten years later, this group has grown in numbers and defines a vast, consumer-oriented movement called Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS). These leading-edge thinkers combine a serious concern for their inner lives with a strong passion for social activism.1
According to the Natural Marketing Institute, today, LOHAS consumers are mainstream, consisting of more than 30% of adult Americans who make their consumer choices based on how a business incorporates human values, environmental sustainability, and making the world a better place as part of their everyday beliefs and buying practices.