When the retail distribution of sales across all shoppers is analyzed, LOHAS consumers, which the research defines as being environmentally motivated in their purchases, spend 10% more in warehouse clubs, whereas environmentally unconcerned consumers do more shopping in lower-cost channels such as supercenters and dollar stores.
One in five U.S. consumers is now living LOHAS, according to NMI. U.S. LOHAS products are a $209 billion business today, and are expected to exceed $400 million by 2010.
The research shows that LOHAS consumers are not only early adopters, but spend more than non-green consumers in nearly every store department. The exception is the meat department-"perhaps as a reflection of their vegetarian lifestyles," noted Todd Hale, senior VP, consumer and shopper insights for Nielsen.
Not surprisingly, LOHAS consumers are particularly heavy buyers of fresh produce, cereal, soup, oral hygiene products and canned vegetables. But they're also big purchasers of butter and margarine, ready-to-serve prepared foods and eggs, among other categories.
The analysis shows that 81% of LOHAS households purchase products labeled as organic, spending nearly four times as much as the 62% of environmentally unconcerned consumers who buy organics.
"Organics are on fire, with billions in sales, and LOHAS consumers appear to be a major driver of this growth, noted NMI senior VP Patti Marshman-Goldblatt.
LOHAS consumers also snap up far more products that make health claims such as gluten-free, multi-grain and probiotic. For example, they spend more than twice as much as the non-green on sprouted grain and products free of genetically modified organisms.
What are the most popular product categories among the non-LOHAS? The research defined types of shoppers and ranked their biggest categories by highest annual dollar buying rate. Here are some highlights:
* "Naturalites" (purchases motivated primarily by health concerns): frozen baked goods, frozen breakfast foods, children's cologne, ice, frozen meal starters and men's toiletries.
* "Drifters" (trend-oriented): automotive, bread and baked goods, cookies, deodorants and desserts, gelatins and syrup.
* "Conventionals" (traditional, cautious buyers): snacks, candy, cheese, milk and condiments, gravies and sauces.
* "Unconcerned" (eco issues not on their radar): baby food, books and magazines, canning/freezing supplies, cosmetics and dough products.
The research came out of a new agreement that links NMI's LOHAS Consumer Trends Database with Nielsen Consumer Panel Services.