With the number of Japanese senior citizens giving up on driving, the economy in Japan seems to have to face another challenge despite being already under pressure.
Retailers are also facing difficulties, as they try to get the maximum purchases possible from the elderly, but it is hard for them to do so through online shopping.
In the past years, the number of older Japanese who give up on their drivers’ licenses has increased and it is a sign of a same situation prone to happen in the country’s neighbors South Korea and China, both of which have aging populations. In Japan there is an increase in the number of so-called shopping refugees, people without cars who live more than 500 meters from a food store, which stands for a drop of around $7 million in the country’s economy according to its ministry.
The countryside is showing even a bigger decline in the car purchases in the elderly consumer category according to Steven & I Holdings Co., which runs 7-Eleven convenience stores all across Japan. The company’s strategy in order to reach its older customers delivers popular items like rice balls and sandwiches straight to seniors’ homes and to community centers using mini pick-up trucks. From 2010 and up to this point the number of people with ages over 65 in Japan who have not renewed their drivers’ licenses has grown from around 26,000 to165,000 people last year, those with ages over 75 have increased from 10,000 to 72,000 in only four years, and senior with ages 85 and more who gave up driving amount to 7,000.
By Gabriela Florea