Marketers in Japan align with the elderly 高齢者に合わせる日本のマーケッター





On the other hand, electronics firm Fujitsu has sold 20 million of its “Raku Raku” mobile phones that have large buttons and simplified functions.


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Business English Pro (BEPro) からの原文です。情報量の違いも併せてご参考にして見て下さい。

Ageing population is a rising concern globally, especially for the marketers. Many nations of the world are currently experiencing the problem of ageing population including America and China, but Japan is leading the list. According to one of the reports published in 2013 by The Financial Times, a quarter of the overall population in Japan is over 65 years. In other words, it can be said that one in four persons in Japan are over the age of 65 years.

The problem is amplified because Japan’s statistics agency had estimated two years back that by 2035 the proportion of elderly people will rise to over 33%, i.e. one individual in three will be above 65 years of age. In fact, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had also raised concerns about the ageing population in Japan when it reckoned in one of its working papers that the size of Japan’s working-age population (people aged between 15 to 64 years) would fall from its peak of 87 million in 1995 to about 55 million in 2050. The IMF emphasized the consequences of an ageing population and mentioned that this proportion of working-age population is approximately the size of the workforce at the end of World War II.

The rising statistics of ageing population is of great significance for marketers in Japan. According to a study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, elderly Japanese outspend younger ones. The study also asserts that this "grey population" now accounts for two-fifths of personal consumption in the country. This proves the existence of a large untapped market and enormous opportunity for marketers. It is therefore not surprising that many leading firms have adjusted their strategies so as to tap this large available market.

Panasonic, a leading domestic appliances maker, has come up with its special range of appliances for the elderly. The products include foot heaters and lightweight vacuum cleaners. Another significant name in this regard is Aeon, a giant retailer and shopping-centre operator, which has introduced a “Grand Generation” strategy wherein it offers one-stop medical clinics on the premises and also facilitates reading of the in-store signs for the elderly. Yet another name in this context is Fujitsu, an electronics firm, which has managed to sell 20 million of its “Raku Raku” mobile phones. These mobile phones have larger buttons and simplified functions. The company is all set to introducing them into Europe.

As far as medical products are concerned, Japanese firms have started to realize the need for being inventive to offer products for the elderly. But the country’s cumbersome regulatory framework is a major hurdle in their way. Besides, testing for medical products is not only expensive but also slow in Japan. In addition to these, introducing new devices covered by health insurance is a long and cumbersome process in the country, which further creates hurdles in the way of marketers. An example in this regard is that of Cyberdyne, a spin-off from the University of Tsukuba, which designed a robotic exoskeleton suit. The purpose was to offer greater mobility to the elderly and disabled. The irony here is that although the product gained approval for clinical use in Europe in 2013, approval is still pending in Japan.

However, the regulatory framework of the country is not the only factor that is obstructing marketers. Their approach is also a problem on occasions. They sometimes do not realize that older consumers do not appreciate being reminded that they are old. Thus, while inventing products for the elderly is not a big problem, marketing of these products is definitely a delicate process. I one of its reports, consulting firm McKinsey cites the example of Japanese firm Bridgestone, which committed the mistake of promoting a new line of golf clubs as being meant for senior citizens. This direct approach only served to remind the elderly of their age. On the other hand, a rival brand acted strategically and did better by avoiding explicit mention of the targeted consumers’ age. Instead, they emphasized the clubs’ ability to make the ball travel farther to woo the elderly golf lovers.

Another dilemma that companies commonly face is regarding targeting their advertising campaigns around the age issue. While a few like Wacoal prefer developing separate brands and marketing campaigns for their new products designed for the elderly customers to avoid hampering the young image of their brands, others like Toyota hire silver-haired, middle-aged models to target the elderly, but these models are accompanied by younger ones to target both age groups in the same campaign. However, the experts like Florian Kohlbacher, co-editor of “The Silver Market Phenomenon,” a marketing handbook, recommend bridging the age gap through better marketing communication. Kohlbacher also suggests an open discussion with the elderly to understand their needs better.

**reckon in=~を計算に入れる、算入する
**elderly Japanese outspend younger ones=若者よりも高齢者により多く出費する。


  • prompt : [verb] 促進する。何かを起こさせる、または何かがなされるのを促すこと
  • suitable : [adj] 適した。ある目的、人、状況にふさわしい
  • renowned : [adj] 有名な。特別なスキルや業績によって名が知れ称賛されている
  • range : [noun] 群。ある企業が作る、またはある店が売る商品の一群
  • one-stop : [adj] ワンストップ。商品やサービス群を1箇所で提供する








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