Japan’s Consumer Segments

Meeting Japan's Consumers Face-on

Quick: guess which age group among Japan’s consumer segments is referred to as Parasite Singles? (see below)

Silvers – aged 65+, this first group will make up 30% of the nation’s population by 2025. The revered generation, they’re seeking health- and fitness-related products, and practicality when they spend their yen. Community parks and recreation centers are being retrofitted to accommodate the social and fitness needs of Silvers, since there are so few children in most neighborhoods. More self-responsibility for retirement planning is underway here, as well as in the second set…
Dankai Generation – Japan’s baby boomers, now pushing 60 years old. Pursuing health and fitness to prolong and maintain life, as with their Silver parents; plus hobby- and travel-related spending.
Dankai Juniors – the third age set falls in the late 30s… children of boomers. Working, raising one or no children, seeking child-focused, in-home entertainment, leisure items.
Parasite Singles – 4th of 5, these are singles who work full-time yet still live with their parents. Primarily women, number about 8.3 million consumers. Value luxury, travel, socializing, fashion.
Fuyu-so – last but not least, Japan’s very own jet setters. This upper crust is growing and it even has a new name: fuyuso, the free-spending super-rich. But let’s face it: jet-setters, it’s a case of “same planet, different worlds.” Accordingly, product marketers and selling teams need a unique solution for this thinnest of slivers in the consumer segments.

Top of mind for all global market planners should be this: the fact that, by the year 2050 the nation of Japan’s population will decrease drastically. Now pegged at 127 million, the nation will count just 95 million in 40 years. That’s a whopping drop within a span of just 1.5 generations. Ensure you focus on product features such as intuitive interface, comfortable fit, and sustaining healthy, mobile lifestyles. How about honing your company’s solutions for outsourcing professional services? There won’t be enough native-born, entry- and mid-level workers to ensure highly-personalized finance, insurance, and accounting services.

(Photo courtesy Wired Magazine, Sep-07.)

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Re-tooling Outdoor Playgrounds for Older Citizens

“There aren’t many children using playground equipment now [in Japan], and most equipment is damaged and needs to be removed … it was natural for us to replace old equipment with workout equipment for the elderly.” Yipes… the incredibly shrinking kid population in Japan opts to stay inside and play digitally. Meanwhile, the elders gain more quality time during their frequent visits to neighborhood parks. The elderly are especially revered in Japan, which is a good thing… they currently make up a third of the national population.

So, who’s running the fitness classes while caregivers are at work during the day? This little fella.

60 going on six: Vivien Backhouse and Peggy Yuill go for a swing in the Older People's Play Area in Dam Head

Along with elder-only playgrounds, communities are constructing adjoining toddler-elder lots, so that caregivers of both generations can keep one eye out in each direction.

If you manufacture play equipment for a living, build up a product road map to address elder and disabled needs, while paying heed to grant- and publicly-funded programs that serve to outfit parks, centers, senior living and health care providers. It may be that your traditional sales channels need to be expanded to reach decision makers in health care, senior living, and community centers.

Read more about these interesting new global trends:
http://www.naturalnews.com/028494_senior_citizens_playgrounds.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-511253/Playtime-Grandma-Council-opens-new-playground-60s.html
http://in.reuters.com/article/idINTRE59P0XG20091026?sp=true

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