Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

What Does Japan’s Low Birth Rate Mean For Its Fitness Industry?

What Does Japan’s Low Birth Rate Mean For Its Fitness Industry?
January 18, 2021

It's been well-documented that Japan's population is decreasing. 

According to Japan's Minister of Internal affairs, a 0.22% decrease in population accord between 2018 and 2019 - the ninth consecutive year of decline in Japan's population. 

With an aging population, combined with Japan's overwhelming work schedule amongst salarymen, what does this mean for the future of Japan's fitness industry? 

Japan's Aging Population & Low Birth Rate
According to the Japanese Minister of Internal Affairs and Communication, In 2019, 75.1 million people were between the ages of 15 and 64, making up 59.5% of the population. 35.9 million consisted of those who are 65 and older, making up 28.4% of the population. 18.5 million are 75 and older, therefore revealing half of Japan's people to be over the age of 65.

In 2019, Japan saw only 865,000 births compared to 1.38 million deaths, therefore decreasing the population by over 500,000. The number of deliveries continues to fall year by year. 

Number of births per year: 
2017 - 946,065
2018 - 918,460
2019 - 865, 234

With over half of Japan's population over 65, the number of births will continue to undercut the number of deaths per year, therefore decreasing Japan's overall population. 

Japan's Elderly Dominate the Fitness Industry
According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), Japan's fitness industry is the fifth-largest in the world, yet the majority of gym members fall in the over 60s category. According to the Japan Sports Council, physical efficiency is more significant in older adults than in their 30s and 40s. 

Being over 60 generally means a person's retirement age, therefore having more time to pursue regular gym visits. Due to their busy work lives, Japanese white-collar professionals don't have time to visit the gym after a day's work.

Gyms tend to cater to an older market focus, with swimming pools being the main fitness area while steering away from a younger fitness regime for high visibility results like weight training.  

According to Rakuten insight, swimming is the top sport for fitness among men and women. It also revealed that maintaining health is the number one reason for exercises instead of high visibility exercises favored in western culture. 

Main Issues of Concern
In terms of general issues for the Japanese fitness industry, the main problems are:

• Low birth rate decreasing the demand for future memberships.
• White-collar professionals from their 20s to 40s being too busy to make time for regular gym sessions.
• Japan's aging population makes up most gyms memberships, which will move on, therefore decreasing the demand for new investments for gyms across Japan.
• As gyms cater to older members, attracting a younger clientele may prove difficult, therefore creating a gap in gym memberships.

Data shown by Rakuten consumer research unit Rakuten insight showed that more than half of people do not exercise in Japan, therefore proving more difficult for modern gyms attracting younger members. 

Moving Forward
IHRSA suggests that the potential for attracting a younger clientele falls with the smaller, non-chain gyms. Large chains make up 58% of gyms in Japan and target mostly elderly members.  
Cultural taboos are also a factor. Many gyms cater to females only as women, pictorially older members, do not wish to workout around males.

The years 2011 to 2016 saw a growth of 1300 fitness clubs consisting of smaller, independent clubs catering to younger members. Increases in independent gyms seem to be a valuable addition in terms of creating new training regimes. 

With COVID-19 still affecting the fitness industry worldwide, it's fair to say Japan's development for new independent fitness clubs may stall. As the pandemic has put the elderly at risk, gyms may see fewer regular members' visits. 

A change of direction by attracting younger members who may be more health-conscious due to the pandemic could push large chain clubs need by adapting to new trends.

About the author

Richard Young

Freelance writer, copywriter, and editor

Richard Young is a freelance writer based in Melbourne. Originally from Ireland, he moved overseas in 2015 and began his writing journey.

From travelling and living overseas, cultural, and social differences are a go-to topic, as well as the social changes throughout multi-cultural countries.

He has found cultural diversity a fascinating avenue to explore and continues to develop new angles of interest.

Contact inquiries welcome via rywriters.com

Read more from this author

Related Articles

4th January 2021 - Japanese pay most for gym memberships

26th November 2020 - Fitbit names JMDC as exclusive distributor of Fitbit Premium for enterprise customers in Japan

1st September 2020 - Working culture, demographics and healthy traditions an obstacle to fitness’ growth in Japan

1st September 2020 - Traditions and working culture an obstacle to fitness club growth in Japan

29th July 2020 - WTA Pan Pacific Open cancelled due to Coronavirus fears

11th March 2020 - Snap Fitness franchisor announces plans for 300 locations in Japan

19th February 2020 - Research finds cigarette pack warnings ineffective in Japan

18th January 2019 - Japanese stadia to introduce new cashless smart venue concept

28th June 2018 - Japan’s fitness industry adapts to ageing demographics

24th July 2018 - Sportec 2018 offers view of sports and fitness industry opportunities in Japan

6th June 2018 - IHRSA Report shows 22 million members at fitness clubs across key Asia-Pacific markets

19th June 2017 - Japan looks to future sport industry growth

28th June 2016 - Architectural ‘reinvention’ of the modern fitness club at Japanese facility

30th April 2016 - Orangetheory Fitness signs deal for 70 studios in Japan

6th November 2015 - Anytime Fitness’ global growth includes 100 gym openings in Japan


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

 

BioLab Australia Pty Ltd

BioGuard is Australia and New Zealand’s most trusted supplier of premium, innovative and affordable commercial water treatment systems and chemicals. BioGuard offers a comprehensive range of…

read more

Aquatics / Technology / Waterparks

 
 

Digonex

Digonex is a leading provider of customised dynamic pricing solutions to clients in arts and entertainment, sport, attractions, cultural institutions and retail sectors. Digonex’s technology is…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Sport / Technology / Ticketing

 
 

HIDROPLAY

Hidroplay welcomes you to the exciting world of children's Playscapes, waterslide's and Water Attractions. Appealing to families, Hidroplay increases patronage in your facility during those…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Recreation

 
 
 

AUSFIT

Ausfit began in 1992, providing software services to the health and fitness sector including ClubWise, a fully hosted web-based product which combines state of the art club management software,…

read more

Billing / Finance / Fitness / Technology

 
 

revolutioniseSPORT

revolutioniseSPORT is the emerging market leader in online club management in Australia. Whether it is memberships, registrations, events, online sales or governance tools - revolutioniseSPORT is the…

read more

Recreation / Sport / Technology

 
 

Yellowbox Lockers

Yellowbox is an Australian technology company that has developed smart locker technology operated through an app with a focus on experience for users and facility managers. Found at Beaches, Aquatic…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Entertainment / Retail / Security

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business