Did You Know There are More Adult Diapers Sold in Japan Now Than Baby Diapers?

Japan currently has one of the oldest populations in the entire world. The World Bank reports that over 27% of Japan’s population is over the retirement age of 65 years old. This aging population has led concerned with how the country will properly care for its citizens in the future. It has also led to an overwhelming problem with adult incontinence, which has meant major revenue for adult diaper manufacturers.

At the same time, Japan’s work ethic that values hours and hours of productivity is leaving little time for young people to start families while they are devoting time to building their careers. The birthrate is decreasing rapidly, and the overall population along with it. Right now, there are more adult diapers being manufactured in Japan than there are baby diapers.

Rising Adult Incontinence in Japan

The adult incontinence market is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Japanese economy and it is expected to continue to grow until 2021. By that time, it is estimated that the senior population in Japan will account for over 35 percent of the population or roughly 44 million people. That is an astounding number and can be a learning opportunity for other cultures in developing proper care, treatment, and consumer opportunities for seniors in other countries.

Leading manufacturers of adult diapers in Japan, Nippon Paper, and Daio, have invested serious funds into expanding their manufacturing warehouses in anticipation of the rise in demand for these products. The price point of adult diapers is also much more expensive than their baby diaper counterparts, often selling for more than double their cost. Each year, the adult diaper market is growing by at least 10 percent, bringing in the equivalent of about $1.4 billion every year.

Japan’s largest diaper manufacturer, Unicharm, identified this trend early on in 2011. Leaving them with a very attractive business opportunity on their hands. Because of the high prices of adult diapers versus baby diapers, Unicharm has been able to capitalize on these high-profit margins.

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Challenges and Strategies of Advertising Adult Diapers

Not everything in this market is positive, however. Marketing and advertising executives have their work cut out for them as they struggle to find the right tone for advertising these products. Anyone who is a fan of Saturday Night Live knows that adult diaper ads are some of their favorite ones to parody.

One of the biggest snafus in this market was seen when Swedish company, SCA, one of the world’s largest hygiene product manufacturers, sent a free sample of its adult diapers to every male resident over 55 years old. Embarrassment took over and many reached out to the company to complain that they do not need this product.

One strategy that has worked well is partnering with local hospitals, senior centers, and nursing homes where sensitive health topics like incontinence are less taboo. Success in these areas has led many advertising executives determined to overcome the embarrassment and taboo associated with adult diapers.

Newer marketing strategies in Japan for this market read more like tampon commercials, promoting the freedom these products give to seniors. These new-wave commercials typically feature a 70-year-old riding on the back of a Harley Davidson or doing some type of adventure sport.

Other advertisements focus on the theme of endurance, displaying Paralympic skiers and send a message that if a disability doesn’t hold you back, why should a diaper? The overwhelming theme is you only live once, and you will live your life as you please even while wearing an adult diaper.


How Japan Could Treat the Problem Rather Than Pushing Adult Diapers

Because of the overwhelming boost to the economy that the adult incontinence problem has provided, it appears that Japan is more concerned with finding ways for its seniors to live with their adult incontinence problem, rather than treating it. For anyone suffering from this very issue, there are many homeopathic solutions that have been used to treat incontinence.

When treating bladder issues such as urinary incontinence it is important to evaluate the cause which could be due to weak pelvic muscles, hormone deficiencies, food allergies, or poor nutrition. If due to muscle weakness, Kegel exercises can provide effective relief.

Women with low estrogen levels often also have difficulties with adult incontinence due to deteriorating urethral tissue, or poor nutrition. A natural supplement like MIT Nutra’s Multivitamin for Women ensures that proper daily nutrition is being met. Zinc is one such nutrient that has been shown to have a correlation to adult incontinence. Improving its intake is one method that can help.

In men, prostate issues can have the same effect. A supplement like MIT Nutra’s Prostateassure - Men Prostate Support can help reduce frequent urination and provide better bladder control. Nutrients like saw palmetto, pumpkin seed extract in addition to zinc are beneficial to treating adult incontinence issues and help keep any prostate enlargement issues at bay. Causticum, sepia, and natrum muriaticum are other supplements that have been studied in relation to adult incontinence as well.

Eliminating any food allergies and sensitivities is another important factor in preventing adult incontinent. This is because such inflammation can lead to worsening overall health and is related to bladder irritation. Aging Japanese citizens should evaluate their diets and lifestyles. Eating whole, fresh, unprocessed foods high in nutrients, or taking a necessary supplement, is an important step of treating incontinence.

While it might sound counterintuitive, it is also important for sufferers of adult incontinent to not risk dehydration and drink enough fluid to prevent any build-up of toxins and reduce inflammation. It is generally recommended that your body intakes about half the amount of your weight in water.