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The Global LOHAS Movement

By: Ted Ning
Posted: February 24, 2010, from the March 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Asian woman with leaf

page 3 of 4

The second China LOHAS conference was recently held in Beijing, and a LOHAS certification is needed for natural and organic products to be imported into Korea. Perhaps the term has spread so rapidly because LOHAS captures traditional Asian values in a western concept during a time of middle-class growth and increasing awareness of environmental hazards. The fact that it is used so often in Asian marketing efforts can result in LOHAS-washing, which has some of the abusive characteristics that greenwashing has in the United States. However, a rising tide raises all ships, and if there is more awareness of the LOHAS concept, more people will be attracted to the essence of its true meaning.

Although the United States can learn from the respect Asian countries have in regard to nature, the country’s acceptance of the LOHAS ideals probably will not evolve the same way because there are many differences in the evolution of each society. LOHAS provides a modern package to a traditional theme in Asia, which makes it so attractive, particularly to the younger generation that is influenced by pop culture and societal values.

The LOHAS mind-set

What does this mean for the personal care industry? A lot. Despite the global economic downturn, studies show that the demand for LOHAS-oriented products has remained consistent.1–4 Globally, consumers are becoming more aware of what they put on their bodies, and what they place in their surroundings. The desire for natural and nonsynthetic skin care that performs is continuing to increase. LOHAS consumers want to also surround themselves with LOHAS products, and the growth of green cleaners the past year is testament to this. Green building has exploded, and the awareness of off-gassing—the evaporation of volatile chemicals in nonmetallic materials at normal atmospheric pressure from paint, carpet and furniture—is increasing. Clearly, if a company can look beyond its own market and see the advancements in parallel markets, it is likely to attract its customer. Marketers who can understand these shifts toward an increased LOHAS mind-set can remain fresh and relevant to consumers, and remain competitive in the marketplace.