FemTech Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2021
Domestic FemTech Market Generates 6.3 Billion Yen in FY2020
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has carried out a survey on the domestic market of FemTech (health-related services and medical care exclusive for women), and found out the trends of market players and future perspectives.
Technology-based products and services geared toward health issues and lifestyle needs of women are labeled as “FemTech” (a coined term of female and technology). The FemTech market has been growing particularly in Europe and the USA. The trend of FemTech attributes to several factors: Increased participation of women in the workplace/ increase of women’s disposable income; the rise of female entrepreneurs and female investors funding to support them; and impact of initiatives like #MeToo movement and feminism.
Although the momentum has been a little slow, FemTech is becoming increasingly prominent in Japan, too. Against the background of global trend of women’s empowerment and tendency to marry later in life, social change is happening, so that discussing personal subjects (like reproductive health) is no longer considered a taboo, and gender norms taken for granted, which are often unfavorable for women, are questioned. To back up the societal change, providers are developing items and services to suit female-centric needs.
FemTech covers multitude of women’s healthcare needs, including solutions for life-stage related subjects like menstruation, infertility treatment, pregnancy/post pregnancy care, and menopause care, as well as solutions for things that relates to women regardless of age, such as sexual wellness and female-specific diseases (breast cancer/ cervical cancer).
The domestic FemTech market is expected to grow from 2021, as some large enterprises are stepping in, while increasing awareness for SDGs have led many companies (hiring women) to start implementing gender equality training in the workplace and improve work policies for women.
In this research, size of the FemTech market is calculated based on the sales at businesses of personal health record (PHR) for women, remote health/medical consulting service for women, postal clinical test service for women, electronic medical record for obstetricians/gynecologists, and in-vitro fertilization (cryopreservation devices). The FemTech market is projected to hit 6.3 billion yen for FY2020.
PHR for Female Individuals Widely Available for Free/ Expansion of Paid PHR Services for Enterprise, Local Government, and Fertility/ FemTech Overseas Advances to Medical Fields
Despite the fact that PHR for women has constant users, most services are offered for free, and users of paid services such as fertility apps are still limited. It is speculated that in choosing a paid PHR service, women look for value-added service, such as data connection to basal body temperature thermometer, data sharing with medical practitioner, and professional consultancy. For this reason, many providers reinforce services specifically for women trying to get pregnant.
Utilizing expertise developed in the services for individuals, providers of PHR for women are inclined to expand corporate services (for companies and health insurance associations) and services for local governments (for residents). While the government continues to seek out ways to promote ‘data health’, in recent years some enterprises have actively implemented employee trainings on women empowerment and enhanced corporate policies. There is a potential for PHR for women and other services (such as online diagnosis and health counseling) to be utilized in corporate healthcare programs and employee benefits.
In the USA, “Clue Birth Control”, a digital contraceptive tool (pregnancy prevention by tracking period) developed by Clue, received FDA clearance as a medical device in February 2021.
At present, in many countries including Japan, coverage of PHR for women is limited to personal care and not medical care, although there are some services that enable data sharing with doctors. There is a view that PHR for women in medical domain like Clue app may be a next big thing in Japan. We must keep a close eye on the market trends.
The FemTech market is worth noting as continuous development of various products and services are expected. Against the background of active market development, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) has adopted “Subsidy Project for Demonstration Projects for FemTech and Similar Support Services” for FY2021. Even though only a few projects are funded this time, the projects are expected to boost publicity of FemTech in Japan and invigorate activities supporting the health and continued employment of working women.
Moreover, in the last couple of years, some enterprises have reinforced implementation of employee training on women empowerment and enhanced their policies in the workplace. Under the circumstances where companies are expected to make reasonable adjustments to their system, such as offering menstrual leave, infertility treatment leave, pregnancy leave and menopause leave, etc., the demand for corporate services is projected to rise further.
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