What is the Silver Economy?

An ageing population

 

We are all aware of the demographic shifts that our societies are facing. The population of Europe has undergone a fundamental shift in its age structure. Many people are having fewer children and living longer lives. As a result the average age of the European population is increasing.

Whilst there is much to celebrate about a longer life, the amount of time people spend in ill-health and disability is increasing. Healthy life expectancy is not keeping pace with increasing life expectancy. Demand and supply is diverging as more people need care and support at the same times as resources become fewer.

The Silver Economy is the name wich is used actually to define the market for ageing people in general including specific care products and services for older people and their care givers. It is also often referred to as the Seniors’ Market and covers all products and services intended for people aged over 55 and or in some societies over 60 - 65 years. More formally, “All products and services that are expected to improve disability-free life expectancy or to help dependent elderly people and their caregivers on a day-to-day basis”.

 

A growing market

 

The silver economy is driven both by the emergence of new consumer markets amongst the older generation and by the need to improve the sustainability of public expenditure linked to ageing.

The European silver economy market is the biggest in the world – 96 million adults over the age of 60. Consumer spending among those aged 60 and over rose 50% faster compared to those under 30. This is creating huge opportunities for ambitious organisations with goods and services which older people want or need.

 

A business opportunity

 

A new consumer class is emerging. Older people with the desire to stay in their own homes for as long as possible and who are healthy enough and wealthy enough to buy goods and services to help keep them there.

 

Examples of sectors expecting to benefit significantly from the silver economy are smart homes supporting independent living; service robotics; health including e-health; wellness; safety; personal and autonomous transport and financial products.

Increasing pressures on local and national government and authorities and on housing association and health and care providers mean they too are reaching out to businesses who can supply products or solutions to help them respond to and manage critical issues relating to quality of life, independence, healthcare and safety.