Sunday, April 26, 2015

Chasing the grey yen - the Economist looks at what Europe might learn from the Japanese

Thanks to Chuck Nyren for telling me about this article.

The Economist periodically has a dabble at talking about all things ageing. It must have come around again on their calendar since another article was recently published.

Pointless giving you a URL since it is behind a paywall.

First a few facts.

One in four Japanese are over 65; by 2035 it will be one in three.  Elderly Japanese outspend younger ones, according to the Boston Consulting Group, and now account for two-fifths of personal consumption. You get the picture, a large and important group?

The article gives examples about how Japanese companies are responding. Here a few of the developments.

  • Wacoal, a global manufacturer of lingerie,  says its sales to senior citizens is growing by double-digit rates each year.
  • Panasonic, a maker of domestic appliances, has rolled out a string of new products, including foot heaters and lightweight vacuum cleaners. 
  • Aeon, a giant retailer and shopping-centre operator, has a “Grand Generation” strategy, which ranges from providing one-stop medical clinics on the premises to making in-store signs easier to read. 
  • And of course there is the old story about Fujitsu that has sold 20 million of its “Raku Raku” mobile phones, with larger buttons and simplified functions.
  • On the other hand, Toyota only seems to use models of pensionable age if accompanied by young actors representing their children or grandchildren.

I thought the article was scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to come up with examples. The bottom line is that even in Japan, the world's oldest country, companies have still not got their act together. Dick Stroud

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