Peer into the Crystal Ball: Business Opportunities in an Aging World
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,
Christopher M.B. Graham – Click here for more information on Chris Graham.