Targeting Over 65s Japan

Prepare to target 40% of the Japanese market with these five tips

Whether it’s thanks to the healthy diet or the Zen lifestyle, Japan has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. Data shows that over-65s will make up nearly 40% of the population by 2040. If your business targets an older audience, the future is bright in Japan – but first, you need to connect with your potential customers.

Here are five facts about the largest Japanese demographic to help you do just that.

Time for new beginnings

Considering that the average life expectancy in Japan is over 80, retirement is just a new beginning for most – and money worries aren’t a major factor. Data from the Cabinet Office shows that 64.6% of the over-60s and 71.5% of the over-80s are doing fine financially. No longer bound by long working hours, they enjoy travel, dining, entertainment and lavishing their children and grandchildren with love and gifts.

Feeling special

Japan is one of the few countries in the world to celebrate the elderly with an official national holiday – 敬老の日 (Keirō no Hi) or “Respect for the Aged Day”. This special day, which always falls on the third Monday in September, sees massage chairs, specialty food, sports gear and more sent to parents, grandparents and other seniors. It’s a great opportunity for brands to enter the market with promotions – who would say no to the opportunity to feel special?

Cash is king?

Cash has traditionally been the preferred method of payment in Japan, with less than 20% of payments made by cards according to the data used by Japan Consumer Credit Association (JCA). However, the pandemic has forced lifestyles to change and the payment landscape is slowly but surely shifting to online and electronic methods across all demographics. This has brought new opportunities for domestic and international brands offering online products, services or systems.

Building trust

上り1日下り一時 (Nobori ichinichi, Kudari ittoki) is a Japanese saying that means “It takes a day to climb but just a moment to crumble”. This reflects the slow process of gaining trust in Japan – it’s not easy for new businesses to break into the market, and one wrong move can have lasting effects. Which is why good localization is so important: by transforming casual to polite, strong to soft, and awkward to natural, it helps you hit the right tone and avoid damaging gaffes.

Meeting customers where they are

It’s important to remember that old-school advertising methods – including television, radio, newspapers, public transportation, magazines and flyers – are still effective when courting the over-65s. Just make sure that the text is large enough to read without a magnifying glass.

If you’re looking to break into the Japanese market, get in touch and let us put in a good word for you.

Cover image via Unsplash (CC0)

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