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More Than 80% of U.S. Adults Exhibit Some Green Motivation

December 8, 2008

According to new research by Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), more than 80% of the total U.S. adult population shows some type of green motivation. While LOHAS consumers (those identified as having the strongest environmental, social, and corporate social responsibility values and behaviors) represent just 17% of U.S. adults (38 million consumers), NMI has identified three other segments that are also engaged in various realms of sustainability depending on the eco-dimension that aligns with their overall priorities. Here are other segments identified by NMI:

Naturalites (17% of all U.S. adults)—This group is driven by personal health and wellness and adhere to a healthy lifestyle. They are high purchasers of eco-consumables, want to do more for the environment and are loyal to those companies/brands who practice credible CSR.

Drifters (24% of all U.S. adults)—Driven by trends, drifters are currently engaged in sustainability though their behaviors are not deeply rooted. They are price sensitive and are more likely to be eco-concerned if affected personally.

Conventionals (26% of all U.S. adults)—This very practical segment does not have a green attitude but does have some environmental behavior such as recycling, energy conservation, and other similar behaviors. This segment’s behavior is driven more by cost savings or a desire to waste less than by environmental consciousness.

Unconcerned (16% of all U.S. adults)—While not necessarily against the environment, this group is not actively engaged in protecting it, buying green products or CSR.

According to NMI managing partner Steve French, while the percentage of LOHAS consumers has remained stable since 2005, all of the other segments show noteworthy shifts. The so-called drifters and conventionals, in particular, have increased significantly, which is reflective of both rising environmental and social concerns, as well as the current economic situation, said NMI.

NMI notes that marketers will continue to find value in understanding the attitudes and behavior of LOHAS consumers, as they are bellwethers of more mainstream consumers’ future behavior. Having driven the market, they are now discovering the next generation of green and socially conscious products. Given the growth in drifters, marketers need to communicate the caché and camaraderie that a green lifestyle creates. The growing conventionals segment will respond to messages of practicality or financial savings that can accompany a sustainable lifestyle, as with taking a reusable shopping bag to the store or driving less.

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