Consumption expenditures of younger Japanese falls sharply while senior household spends rise

The consumption of Japanese over 60 years of age has trended upward for more than a decade.

Analysis conducted by shows that consumption in households where the head is aged 60 or older, was estimated at ¥115 trillion in 2014. This represents 48% of overall personal consumption and corresponds to 24% of nominal GDP.a04902en_fig01_

This simply reflects Japan’s super-aged demography. Meanwhile, the consumption of households whose heads are younger than 60 declined by an annual average of 1.9% between 2003 and 2014. This balance explains why personal consumption in Japan is stagnant, recording annual growth of just 0.1% between 2003 and 2014.

Distinguishing features of elderly households in Japan include the large number of one-person households and the high share of single female households.

Food dominates the share of expenditures although a comparison between single younger and single older households shows that the older occupant spends on fresh fish, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruits. In contrast, young singles more on eating out. This tendency also holds for households of two or more people.

A fascinating study.

As always Japan provides a glimpse into the crystal ball for other countries who will experience a similar demographic profile in a few years time.