In many countries, the distribution of population is said to follow a similar curve. In other words, the number of births and deaths are very high in the early period. In the middle stage, the number of births remains the same and the number of deaths decreases, resulting in a rapid increase in population. In the second stage, the number of deaths continues to decline while the number of births plateaus and the population remains flat.
This trend has already occurred in the U.S. and Europe, where the population has remained flat in many places. Of course, there are some attempts to improve the situation by accepting immigrants, but it is certain that the population is not in a state of rapid growth in the mid-term. And this trend is the same in Japan. As you all know, Japan’s fertility rate is in the 1% range, similar to the United States and Europe. The same situation is expected to occur sooner or later in China and India, where the population is still growing.
Why, then, does every country show such a trend? One theory is that the natural environment has the ability to control population growth. One example of this is the need to expand agricultural land to keep up with the rapid increase in population. There are other environmental issues as well. In Europe during the Middle Ages, deforestation to accommodate population growth resulted in the loss of many resources. Needless to say, in Japan, problems such as Minamata disease and the widely shared fact that money did not bring happiness to the Japanese people have also worked to restrain the Japanese people from production.
Moreover, the consciousness of today’s youth is precisely that of inhibition. While growth is good for those who lived through the period of rapid economic growth, it is not necessarily good for today’s young people. Rather, they have come to seek what suits them best, and to seek a life that fits their own stature. These changes in consciousness must be one of the very factors that are restraining economic activity. Similarly, in Europe, the strong aversion to forced labor is also a factor restraining economic activity, much like in Japan.
While we are on the subject, have you ever heard of product life cycle theory? As most readers of this blog are probably aware, the product life cycle is a theory that shows that a product goes through the steps of 1: introduction phase, 2: growth phase, 3: maturity phase, and 4: decline phase from the time it is introduced to the market until it declines.
This curve is very similar to the aforementioned demographic curve. From a situation in which the number of product users and the number of people who no longer use the product are equal during the introduction phase, the number of product users increases rapidly as the number of people who no longer use the product declines rapidly. Then, once a certain volume is reached, the number of users hits a plateau, leveling off and entering a period of decline, which is the cycle.
What we are trying to say is that by replacing the number of population changes with the number of product users, we can get a hint as to why the maturity phase occurs in the product life cycle. This is a hint to determine the cause of the maturity phase of the product lifecycle. In the case of population, a rapid increase in population is a natural phenomenon. In the case of population, it is thought that a rapid increase in population triggered a change in the natural environment, which in turn triggered a change in human consciousness, causing the population to level off. Similarly, in the case of product life cycles, are there not triggers that restrain growth and changes in the consciousness of users? This is the case. Of course, some products may be available to most consumers, but what we are trying to say here is that we are trying to discover the factors that may be restraining growth.
So, let me get right to the point. Factors that have restrained population growth can be considered to be the constraints of the natural environment and changes in values. In other words, in order for a population to grow, a variety of things such as food, timber, and fuel are necessary, and at the same time, values and consciousness that deem these things to be good are also necessary. These two elements can be thought of as the two wheels that supported population growth. Therefore, if the balance is lost, population growth will be suppressed.
Given this, what elements are necessary for growth in the product life cycle? This could be quite different depending on the product and its environment. For example, the reason why people no longer buy televisions can be attributed to a change in values with the advent of the Internet. In the past, people obtained much of their information, from economic news to variety shows, from television, but with the advent of the Internet, the need for television has diminished. This is because the emergence of other media has highlighted the shortcomings of television and changed the value system that had been focused solely on television. It could be said that the change in values and attitudes toward television that many people have believed in has led to a decline in the number of television purchases.
When a product or service declines, it can be said that “changes in values” are a major factor. The decline in population is also caused by a change in the values we used to believe in, and the decline of products and services is similarly due to a change in values. We can think that both population numbers and the decline of products depend on our “consciousness and sense of values” to create this world.
As marketers, we need to ask ourselves, what values do people have now? What do they believe in? What do they believe in? This awareness will determine whether your product or service will sell or not. You need to know that it is impossible to sell a product or service without knowing the attitudes of the people, which even the number of people in the population influences.