Learning from Japan's ageing consumer market

When it comes to ageing societies, the Asia-Pacific region boasts the oldest, largest and fastest ageing populations on earth.McK

The world stands to learn much from these extreme examples of what will inevitably follow elsewhere. The super-aged predicament of Japan deserves particular observation.  By 2040, the ratio of people over 65 is estimated to rise to the historically unprecedented level of 36 percent.

In it’s March 2015 issue of the McKinsey Quarterly titled; Japan Lessons from a hyperaging society, the consultancy reminds of the issues and illustrates some interesting examples already emerging. I’ve summarised a few but you can download the report from the links and read all.

  • Tokutake’s line of Ayumi shoes, for instance, are designed not only to combat knee and hip pain but also to help prevent users from slipping and falling. Unlike conventional shoe retailers, the company allows customers to order right and left shoes separately.
  • Benry Corporation provides dozens of services in seniors’ homes, from cleaning air conditioners to weeding. 7-Eleven Japan offers meal-delivery services catering to seniors.
  • Restaurant company Watami not only delivers handmade bento meals to the elderly but also operates nursing homes.
  • US fitness chain Curves, which entered Japan ten years ago, has nearly 1,400 branches in the country and more than 580,000 members—70 percent of them over 50.The company offers basic services at low rates in convenient locations near residential areas. By emphasising ease of access, and without overtly appealing to the elderly, it has generated demand among an age group that conventional fitness gyms find hard to attract.
  • Kozocom, developed Kozo SNS Village, a social-networking site for people 50 and over who want to share and talk about their hobbies.