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  5. Successful Business Models to win over the Aging, Low Birth Rate Society

2009 Vol.1
Successful Business Models to win over the Aging, Low Birth Rate Society


Because of the progression of the aging and low birth rate society in Japan, concern is rising over the shrinking working population and the increasing burden on the active working generation. It has become difficult to draw a picture that sees senior citizens as a generation which can expect comfortable support from society (the government). From now on, senior citizens will be engaged in work and participate in society as the “producing population”, and the need exists to perceive them as independent “consumers”. However, most of the current businesses targeting senior citizens take aim at nursing care-related or extraordinary (non-daily) consumption, and very few business models have yet to succeed in understanding and capturing the daily consumption of healthy senior citizens. An important key phrase when targeting senior citizen consumers is “healthy life expectancy”. Not limited to senior citizens, this paper will introduce the currently prevalent health concerns of Japan as the “four health concerns of the modern Japanese”.
Drugstores are expected to be the supporters of the daily consumption of senior citizens. The drugstore market has achieved continued growth, led by the trend of self medication, passage of the revised Pharmaceutical Affairs Act and special demand related to the metabolic syndrome.
This paper introduces Kitakyushu City-based drug store Sankyu Drug Co., Ltd., as a successful business model in winning over Japan’s aging and low birth rate society. The company focuses on the consumption potential of senior citizens, and pursues a community-based strategy targeting a small, five hundred meters radius market zone. In addition to concentrating on increased coverage of healthcare consumption within the target market, the company has been exploring potential consumption in collaboration with healthcare manufactures. Furthermore, in anticipation of continued aging in Japan, the company has already taken a head start in exploring new types of businesses and initiatives. Much can be learned from Sankyu’s strategy, which firmly captures the healthcare consumption of Japanese senior citizens, and attempts a deep cultivation and expansion strategy in the target market segment.