Nappies for Nannies

Business - May 10th, 2012
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Adult diapers are outselling those for babies in Japan, according to Unicharm. There we have it, the latest headline drawing attention to Japan’s aging population.

Japanese people over the age of 65 reached a record 23.3 percent in October, around 29.8 million people. And Bloomberg reports that companies in Japan are rushing to take advantage of the estimated 109 trillion yen ($1.4 trillion) that consumers over 60 spent in the 2011-12 financial year. Data shows population peaking in 2005, and Bloomberg‘s estimates counted around a one million person year-on-year decrease over the last decade.

Retailers must adapt to the new market and some are seeing the change as an opportunity. Retail giant Aeon says that people over 60 spend 44% of the money it takes but it is not just product lines that are adapting to suit their needs.

Another major retailer, Daiei, is “retooling” its business, with spokesman Aichiro Yamaguchi saying that they are “slowing escalators to two thirds of the speed of regular ones and employing lighter shopping carts, using aluminum at some stores.”

That will take the weight off the shoulders of these ‘new’ customers and, hopefully, they will face less of a struggle to find their “health goods” amongst the snacks. Whether or not diapers as a fashion item will catch on remains to be seen but, if sales rocket, they could earn a place near the fresh bread at the mega store entrance.