“The Seniors Market in Japan as Seen by Consumers” using JNN Data Bank
In order to deepen understanding of the lifestyles of Japanese people we have implemented a new report project using JNN Data Bank.*
The first time we have put the focus on the seniors market which is said to be promising in Japan. Aging is proceeding more quickly in the seniors market of Japan than anywhere else in the world so it is thought to be a market that could be a useful reference as a leading indicator for other countries.
* This is a nationwide consumer survey conducted by the commercial network centered on TBS Television, a leading commercial television station of Japan. It is the survey with the longest history in the private sector, and it has been conducted every year since 1971 using a interviewer-visit and self-completion questionnaire method based on nationwide three-step sampling. This survey is highly regarded by all segments of users because it is highly representative in analyses of the Japanese market and because it provides a valuable database that captures consumer changes over more than 40 years.
Definitions related to seniors
In the Japanese market 90% or more of people who are 60~65 years old retire*1 so we set the lower age limit of the seniors market at 60 years old or above, when retirement life begins. On the other hand, regarding the upper age limit, the situation is that the average life expectancy of Japanese people exceeds 80 years old for both men and women, but healthy life expectancy is said to be until the first half of the 70s so we set the upper age limit to 74 years old, and in this project we understand people who are 60~74 years old to be the seniors market, and discussed the seniors market while making comparisons with other generations.
*1 General Survey on Working Conditions (2014) by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
Our reason for using a highly representative survey
In the present discussion of the seniors market, we adopted the JNN Data Bank data which enables highly representative and objective analyses, not surveys using Internet monitors*2 which would be expected to have large biases, and in the specific analyses we used the JNN Data Bank Special Edition.*3
*2 The incidence rate of the net monitors is 3.8%. Among respondents in their 60s~70s, it was about 1%. (Nomura Research Institute, Ltd., Questionnaire Survey of 10,000 Consumers 2012, surveyor-visit and self-completion questionnaire method)
*3 The JNN Data Bank Special Edition is the data of the five major regions included in JNN Data Bank surveys with respondents who are 70-74 years old as the survey target. (Details at the bottom of the page)
Three reasons why the seniors market of Japan is promising
1. A large population
It is a large population. There is a population of 33 million elderly people aged 65 years old or older. The proportion of the total population that is 65 years old or older (the population aging rate) is 26.0% (65~74 years old: 13.4%, 75 years old or older: 12.5%). This is the highest level in the world.*1
*1 Annual Report on the Aging Society 2015
2．A lot of assets
They have a lot of assets. The current balance of assets in households 60 years old or older is approximately 25 million yen on average. This is more than four times the savings of households less than 40 years old, which have 5.62 million yen on average. The liabilities of people in their 60s are 2.13 million yen on average, about one-fifth of those of people in their 40s, who have the most liabilities at an average of 10.51 million yen.
They are enjoying their leisure. The satisfaction, expectations, and improvement of leisure time are all high among people in their 60s. Satisfaction is highest among people in their 70s.
It is a large population but are there a lot of active people?
They have a lot of assets but do they spend money?
They enjoy their leisure, but is it the kind of leisure that involves spending money?
We tried viewing them as consumers to see if they are a truly promising market.
What if we try viewing seniors as consumers?
Earlier generations have higher health satisfaction
Looking at the health satisfaction of seniors, both males and females who were Generation born during the war（70~74 years old） tended to have higher levels of satisfaction than people in their 60s. *1
*1 Baby boomers（65~69 years old） Post-baby boomers（60~64 years old）
Earlier generations are more involved in leisure activities such as spa resorts, travel, concerts, etc.
Furthermore, regarding leisure as well, the figures for spa resorts, travel, concerts, etc. were higher among seniors compared with the respondents overall, so we can infer that seniors are enjoying kinds of leisure on which they spend money.
Seniors are a promising market because they are active and are likely to spend money on leisure, so we looked at what types of media would be best for approaching them.
What kinds of media are effective with seniors?
The respondents watch TV a lot
Regarding TV, more seniors “Definitely watch TV every day (3 hours or more)” compared to the respondents overall, and that percentage is 50% or more among females, so we can conclude that this is an effective type of media.
Older generations listen to radio more
Regarding radio too, about 50% of each generation of seniors listens to the radio, which is high compared to the 40% of respondents overall, so we can conclude that this is an effective type of media too.
The Internet is used less by older generations
Regarding the Internet, only about 30% of people who are 70~74 years old use the Internet, which is very low compared to the 80% of respondents overall. The trend is that Internet use rates are higher among later generations, so we can conclude that the Internet will become a major type of media in the future.
We can conclude that mass media such as TV, radio, etc. are effective with seniors, and that the Internet will also grow in the future. Next we looked at what kinds of content seniors were likely to accept.
What kinds of content are effective with seniors?
Types of TV programs that the respondents watch a lot
The types of TV programs that the respondents watch a lot tended to include entertainment programs such as “popular music programs,” “traditional Japanese comedy and dramatic performances,” etc. and current affairs programs such as news, talk and variety shows, weather forecasts, etc.
Content of radio programs that the respondents want to hear
The programs that the respondents want to hear on the radio tended to include current affairs programs such as the news, etc. and educational programs such as “stories about the ways that different kinds of people think and live,” “classical music” “topics of conversation and information that make the listener knowledgeable and cultured,” etc.
Main purposes for which the respondents use the Internet
Seniors use the net for practical purposes such as “map searches,” “sending and receiving emails,” “looking at websites,” etc.
We can conclude that using each type of media in accordance with its characteristics will be effective.
Based on these results, we have learned that the market of active seniors in Japan is promising and, regarding future approaches, communication in accordance with the characteristics of this generation is effective. Generally seniors have a strong tendency to want no change, and they do not switch brands, so we can conclude that people will become customers with a high level of loyalty if we engage in long-term communication from the time that they are pre-seniors, with the aim of achieving a generational effect. We hope that these results can serve as a useful reference by providing leading indicators of the seniors market in other countries.