Peer into the Crystal Ball: Business Opportunities in an Aging World

October 16, 2009 Hull & Hull LLP Estate & Trust, Funerals, In the News Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

Whether it’s technology or tv trends, Japan seems to be light years ahead.  And we play catch-up (ok, not so with the stupid game shows).  Japan’s median age is 43.5, Canada’s is 39.1.  But since Japanese live longer (life expectancy of 82.12 versus Canada’s [still respectable] 81.23), we’re really only a few years behind.  So what can we learn from their population, which is a few years ahead of ours in dealing with an aging population?

The answer is: forget about cars, dvd players and even robots.  Funerals are very, very big business in Japan.  According to this Bloomberg article, the Japanese funeral industry is worth US$18 billion.   Last year, 1.14 million Japanese died, and funeral companies charge about $26,094.62 per funeral.  By 2040, 1.66 million will be dying every year.  Future growth is in death, and as Bloomberg notes, "everyone from railway companies to retailers wants a slice."   Funeral companies are stampeding towards Japan.

Unfortunately, things won’t be so rosy in Canada.  This is because Japanese funerals are mostly Bhuddist funerals, which are elaborate multi-day events involving chanting monks, flowers, meals, cremation ceremonies, jade urns and the like.  They are elaborate, exhausting events.  Our funerals are fast-forwarded commercial breaks by comparison.  But it is still a glimpse into the future.

Have a great weekend,

Chris Graham

Christopher M.B. Graham – Click here for more information on Chris Graham.

 

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