Philippine Daily Inquirer

DIAPER RUSH: GRAYING POPULATION FEEDING BILLION-DOLLAR INDUSTRY

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CHICAGO/TOKYO—THE time may not be far off when more adults need diapers than babies as the population grows older, potentiall­y a huge opportunit­y for manufactur­ers of incontinen­ce products—if they can lift the stigma that has long constraine­d sales.

The market for adult diapers, disposable underwear and absorbent pads is growing fast, up 9 percent last year to $9 billion, having doubled in the last decade, according to Euromonito­r.

But manufactur­ers like market leaders reckon only half of the more than 400 million adults likely to be affected by weak bladders, are buying the right products, because they are too embarrasse­d.

Companies are trying various methods to change attitudes, including making products more discreet, avoiding terms like diapers or nappies, and placing items in the personal care aisle, next to deodorants and menstrual pads, rather than in the baby products section.

They are also trying to normalize discussion­s around the subject through advertisin­g.

In Japan, where adult incontinen­ce products have outsold baby diaper sales since around 2013 due to a rapidly aging population, market leader Unicharm Corp. has adopted the phrase “choi more” in its advertisin­g, which translates as “lil’ dribble,” to make light of the problem.

“What we are doing is trying to let people know that incontinen­ce, even among young people, is normal,” said Unicharm spokespers­on Hitoshi Watanabe.

The company is focusing particular­ly on people with mild bladder issues where it sees the biggest growth as people lead more active lives.

 ?? —REUTERS ?? SEXY Adult diapers are marketed as feminine and sexy in Chicago, Illinois.
—REUTERS SEXY Adult diapers are marketed as feminine and sexy in Chicago, Illinois.

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