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The rise of the silver economy

Digital format, 17/11/2021, National Roundtable

Population ageing is a global trend affecting all the world’s foremost economies. The phenomenon is have an especially significant impact on China and Europe and seems destined, along with the climate crisis, to be among the main generators of change in twenty-first century societies. Governments, citizens and the business community thus find themselves facing a range of challenges as well as a host of opportunities. Increased longevity in many countries has coincided with prolonged health, and is consequently placing the energy, independence and vitality of a major segment of the elderly population at society’s disposal.

Upon close examination of the wealthier nations, it appears that “baby boomers” are demanding consumers, endowed with greater purchasing power than other generations. The so-called “silver economy” hinges on people over 65 years of age, and it accounts for one-third of all private consumption in Italy.

Zooming out to the “longevity economy”, i.e. all those products, services and economic activities geared to the over-50 population reveals how, correlated with countries’ GDP, that group represents the world’s third largest economy after the United States and China, valued at more than 8 trillion dollars. A gigantic market that must be served with the proper attention and with an inclination toward innovation. Science can introduce major changes, starting with the health industry and prevention, but it is also fundamental that technology be applied to services and products.

Central too, in addition to innovation, is finance.  The universe seeking to exploit this market, and in need of adequate capital to do it, is comprised of both major global corporations and small and medium-sized firms that are enjoying growth as the result of a burgeoning customer base.

Italy is well-placed in this regard in sectors pivotal to the silver economy, such as prevention, healthcare and advanced homecare assistance; this is thanks to a series of industrial frontrunners in the fields of mobility and nutraceuticals. Such points could be further developed and upgraded with the technological and managerial skills that nurture smaller company growth with a view to their boosting their international competitiveness. The creation of an economic fabric capable of seizing the opportunities offered by this market gives Italy a perfect chance to transform the presence of one of the oldest populations in the world into a factor in development.