Population growing old in core ASEAN states
In Southeast Asia, the elderly population is rising as birth rate declines and life expectancy improves. In Thailand, 11% or 7.5 million of the population are 65 years or older compared to 5% in 1995. In Malaysia, senior citizens aged 60 or older accounted for 9% or 2.8 million of the total population of 31 million in 2015.
The median age in Singapore reached 40 years old in 2016, according to Statistics Singapore. Senior citizens aged 65 and older constituted 13.1% of the population in 2015. In Indonesia, 4.9% or 12 million of the total population in 2010 were elderly and the number is set to rise to 32 million or 10.8% in 2035. In the Philippines, the number of senior citizens aged 60 or above is estimated at 7 million or 7% of the total population.
However, minimarts and conveniences stores in the region are slow in responding to the needs of the ageing population.
Japanese convenience stores catering to elderly
In Japan, convenience stores are catering more to elderly including adding elderly care support services as demographics change in the land of the rising sun. Customers 50 or older accounted for 30% of customers at 7-Eleven convenience stores in Japan in fiscal 2013, up from 9% in fiscal 1989, according to statistics from Seven & i Holdings Co reported Japan Times in May 2015.
Meiji Gold Advance
CP-Meiji Co., Ltd., a joint venture between Thailand’s CP Group and Japan’s jnumber one dairy company Meiji Company Limited, has recently introduced Meiji Gold Advance liquid milk for senior citizens aged 50 and above.
The milk is available in 7-Eleven, which is a sign indicating convenience store is beginning to address the needs of the elderly.
Photo above was taken by the author in a 7-Eleven in Bangkok, Thailand in June 2017
Adult diapers are sold in 7-Eleven Thailand. However, the Certainty Adult DayPants are placed on the top shelf, which makes them seemingly out of reach to senior citizens.
Ready-to-drink nutritional supplement
In the 7-Eleven convenience store in Taiwan, there are a few nutrition drinks not only for the elderly but for those who need a complete and balanced nutrition. The products include the Ensure (安素) range and Quaker (桂格) Enhanced Nutrition Food designed for those who have undergone surgery or cannot get enough nutrition from their diet.
Photo above was taken by the author in a 7-Eleven in Taipei, Taiwan in June 2017.
What Mini Me thinks
Ageing population is a real pressing issue for governments in the Asia Pacific region is but also a business opportunity. Convenience stores or minimarts have established themselves in the region and prove to be a channel that can tap into new needs arising from the changing demographic.