Japanese retailers gear up for $1.4 bn. elderly market

5 years ago by in Business, Featured

Japan’s retailers are turning around strategies to effectively cover the increasing buyer segment of elderly citizens.

Japan’s population over 65 years-old reached a new record last autumn, at 23.3 percent of the total. People over 60 years old are spending Y109 trillion ($1.4 trillion) a year and companies are changing perspective to boost their businesses.

“We perceive this change as a golden opportunity for growth,” according to Shohei Murai, a top executive at Japan’s largest retailer Aeon Co., who thinks the elderly are going to be “the engine of consumption.”

An example of strategy change is Aeon’s decision to place medical clinics at some of its commercial locations. Japan may be seen as a testing ground, and successful selling ideas could be exported to other aging countries.

Unicarm for example, the largest diaper maker in Japan, which noticed that sales of adult diapers exceeded those for babies for the first time last year, intends “to take Japan’s standards and spread it into Asia,” according to CEO Takahisa Takahara. China is an interesting market, as the one-child policy resulted in population over 65 years-old growing nearly 2 percentage points in ten years, up to 8.87 percent of the total.