Marketing And Marketing/Design Research Perspective on Japan as “Aged Society”

For some time, we heard the warning cries from critics and journalists about Japan’s rapidly aging population. Well, it has happened. We are now “Aged” society.  Japan has more old people who are over 65 than young people who are under 14. Now what? Society is always changing, and it will now change following the macro behavior trends that are the result of having more people over 65. This trend, will change again when these baby boomer old population are replaced by x generation old population, but for now, the market demands are strong among people who ask to be served.

Source: Japan Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Statistics Bureau, Director-General for Policy Planning (Statistical Standards). Statistical Research and Training Institute). Japanese page. Retrieved from

What I think this means for Japan marketing and design/marketing research perspective is as below:

According to national census conducted in 2011 (above chart), Japan has more people between age 65-70 than age 50-55. There are about the same number of people aged 70-75 as 50-55.  And according to 2012 survey by the biggest Japanese advertisement agency, Dentsu, over 70% of population in 60’s  in Tokyo area uses Internet and over 20% of population in 70’s uses Internet. Because in Japan there is trend for older population to be very conscious of health and they spend money to maintain their health, perhaps it might be worth it to include people between age 65-70 in health and fashion market research as well.
Japan is the most aged advanced country of the world, and its culture has been transforming from that of youth (teenagers to early 20’s) to “young-old (50-65)”, “middle-old (66-80)”, “old-old (81 and older)”. In most advanced countries, anyone over 45 is over the hill (even legally by labor force age brackets) and out of trend making age range within a society.  But in Japan,  “cool” old aged trend setters are emerging. These people are not trying to look younger than their age or making pathetic efforts to act young, but they are the models of 21st century people who live full life, abundant and rich life.
Of course, when the age range is so wide, we can not appeal across all age groups. If we could make totally different community for each age group, it will work. But if we are going to make this communities to monitor opinions and trends, 18-65 is too big a range. Informants of research will psychologically resist participation unless it is an urgent medical matters that they are seeking information and advice. Even then, people between 18-30 will not like being mixed with older people, and the community information exchange is likely not to become active across the whole age range.


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