Japanese companies hope to attract more ‘Silver Generation’ consumers

Global Business

More Japanese companies are targeting older consumers as the working population shrinks and the number of retirees rises. Japan’s so-called ‘Silver Generation’ now has retailers scrambling to understand their needs. CCTV America’s Mike Firn reported this story from Tokyo.

One in every three Japanese citizens is over 60 years old, and many of these people have the time and money to shop. Even so, companies have found that getting the over-60 population to buy their products will not be as simple as changing their advertising strategy.

Japanese companies hope to attract more 'Silver Generation' consumers

More Japanese companies are targeting older consumers as the working population shrinks and the number of retirees rises. Japan's so-called 'Silver Generation' now has retailers scrambling to understand their needs. CCTV America's Mike Firn reported this story from Tokyo.

Hiroyuki Murata, Founder of the Smart Ageing Research Center, advises companies on how to market products to the over-60 population. Murata says they spend more than 84 billion dollars a year but a lot of companies are missing out because they underestimate the challenges of selling to the older generation.

The nature of the market has changed in the past 20 years, Murata said. In the high growth era, a lot of huge markets were very homogeneous, but now the market for the elderly is am aggregate of the micro-market, a small market, he said.

Companies need to take a more sophisticated approach by looking at the individual demands of each family and family structure, he added.

Murata cited the example of the Raku Raku phone designed for elderly users by Japan’s leading mobile operator NTT DoCoMo and handset-maker Fujitsu. The designers only focused on function by making larger screens and buttons that were easier to press, but they didn’t realize that some senior citizens didn’t like it because having one could imply that they were very old, he said.

Many Japanese companies make the mistake of imagining what other generations want, not considering that getting older doesn’t mean people lose their sense of style, he added.