Adult diaper sales have skyrocketed in Japan in the past years as the birthrate continues to decline and the current population reaches its twilight years. Diaper maker Unicharm Co. recorded higher sales for its adult diapers than their infant counterpart in the last fiscal year and could foresee the same thing happening in the coming years.
Unicharm, maker of Lifree series started selling diapers in the late 1980s and has already sold over 60 billion yen ($576 million) more than what it has sold for infant diapers. Even Tomod’s drugstore in Kawasaki has been shelving infant and adult diapers in the same amount of space with the store manager relaying that they, “used to put (adult diapers) on an inconspicuous shelf in the corner of the store, but with the increasing amount of at-home nursing care, we now treat them as an essential item.” In fact, sales of nursing care products in general have increased in the recent years in as much as 10 percent.
Though both used to aid in nursing care, adult diapers are larger to manage twice the amount of excretion an adult will have than an infant and costs twice as much. Companies now offer pads that can be replaced to reduce expenses for the user. Sales for underwear-type diapers one can wear without assistance are also increasing and so are diapers for minor incontinence, which targets seniors who love to walk and shop but are worried about the condition that comes with age. With infant diaper production no longer at its peak, focus on making adult diapers have replaced that need. Japan Hygiene Products Association has said that adult diapers produced last year was double the amount they produced 10 years ago and forecasts indicate that they will largely exceed infant diaper production in the next years. This is just one kind of product for the elderly that will see a surge as the population continues to gray.
[via Asahi Shimbun]