2011年4月5日 The Business Times （英語）
Going by the experience in Japan, the country with the highest percentage of aged population, an ageing society will be a women society, quipped Hiroyuki Murata, president of Murata Associates, in his keynote address.
This is because women have longer life expectancy than men. In his address, “Japanese insights on business opportunities driven by Asian demographics”, Prof Murata talked about a few businesses that responded creatively to the trend.
Curves Japan is the largest women’s fitness chain in Japan. As at April 1, 2011, it has 950 branches with 360.000 members. The average age of its user is 50. The key to its success, said Prof Murata , is three “no Ms” － no men ; no make-up; and no mirrors.
The fitness chain also designed a 30-minute circuit training programme for the women to make the work-out fun. Most of these women can spare that amount of time, in between their housework. The branches are located near residential areas. That creates a sense of community. And finally, the chain provides only space for exercise. It doesn’t have showering facilities or eating space.
Because of its older clientele who tend to be more loyal, the turnover for the Curves chain in Japan is only 2-4 per cent. In the US, it is 8 per cent.
Prof Murata also explained how simple tasks such as reading aloud, writing , and solving simple arithmetic problems quickly engage a larger part of the brain than activities such as watching television or solving a difficult mathematical problem. Patients with severe dementia, when put through this learning therapy, showed vast improvement. Nintendo put this software on its DS Brain Training handheld sets. Some 33 million have been sold all over the world so far.
Another company does well by employing retirees who have no place to go every day, those who have lost their identity after leaving their company and who have no hobbies and no network of friends, to collect and treat leaves for use as decorative items.