silver economy elderly

Silver Economy Market: a real highway

The silver economy market continues to grow. And for good reason, the target clientele has become largely denser in recent years. From 2006, France has seen a strong change in its demography. Increase in retirements, decline in the birth rate, ageing population linked to the increase in life expectancy… The beginnings of the“Papy-Boom”,resulting from the “Baby Boom” of the post-war period. This phenomenon at the national but also regional level impacts all sectors. Health, transport, leisure, sport, food, insurance… Enough to generate new business opportunities.

Silver economy: seniors, a market of the future

The Silver Economy is aimed at the segment of the population that is called“Senior”. In the world of work, these are people who are at least 50 years old. While for health, a person is considered senior from the age of 65.

In 2016, 22.1% of the population of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region was aged 65 and over. Seniors then represent 1.3 million people according to INSEE. These figures make Nouvelle-Aquitaine the oldest region in France. If the trend continues, more than a third of the population will then be at least 60 years old by 2030. Seniors would even become more numerous than 30s by 2023. An ageing population, therefore, with new needs.

In order to adapt to this new population, new offers, products, solutions and technologies are emerging. A whole new market, hitherto neglected, with enormous economic potential: the Silver Economy. It allows the adaptability of all markets to meet the new needs of seniors and facilitate well-aged.

The ageing of the population is an opportunity not to be overlooked. More than just a market, it is an economy in its own right. Well structured and supervised, it can create many jobs and contribute to the country’s growth.

Seniors, all the same?

Inevitably, the answer to this question is “no, seniors are not all the same”. Even if we want to schematize, it is clear that a 60-year-old senior and an 85-year-old senior do not have the same expectations or the same needs. Also the silver economy market is actually divided into segments. These are based on the age groups and the typical situation of seniors at this time in life.

senior active silver economy opportunity
For “marketing” reasons, the large senior family is divided into 4 categories (1).

50-59 year olds. They are still young people. They are seniors on the job market but do not live as such on a daily basis. They are looking for authentic products and new services. Then, 60-69 year olds are looking for more practical products. With better purchasing power, they bet on quality and brands, including specialized ones. The current 70-79 year olds are still a little bit traditional. These seniors therefore opt for ease of use. Finally, the over 80s are less looking for novelty than security. They are more dependent and want above all that innovations and services make their lives easier.

Retirement, towards a shortage of qualified profiles?

Noting the massive growth in retirements due to the Papy-Boom, recruitment agencies began to look for new employees to replace the “old” ones. Many positions are therefore to be filled, but require a transmission of knowledge. In 2016, in New Aquitaine, 1 in 4 jobs is held by a person over the age of 50 (Source: INSEE).

In some sectors of activity, the replacement of retired people is very difficult, such as in the field of health, livestock or viticulture. For example, 41% of departures for health professionals in Aquitaine for the year 2016 and 35% for winegrowers. The areas most affected in the region by these mass departures are in the countryside. Thus, the lack or even the absence of some professionals in the cities causes problems to the inhabitants (no doctor 30km around).

Old age, the market for new technologies

Aged 60 and over, seniors are increasingly an even active audience. As such, they express new needs. They do not hesitate to consume by buying new goods that are more adapted to their new lifestyle. A new taller car for better seating comfort, with a large trunk for luggage. New furniture that is easier to access such as sliding kitchen storage so you don’t have to dive under the sink. A more comfortable mattress to spare your back. A connected pill box to help take the right pills throughout the week…

silver intergenerational economy technology grandmother child
Companies are well aware of these new expectations and are betting everything on“Silver consumption”.

From the most classic innovations as stated above to the most high-tech, such as connected bracelets that analyze health in real time, or the quality of sleep, a large part of companies has been able to position themselves in this new segment of customers with specific needs.

These innovations also involve travel aids. Stairlifts have notably contributed to improving the movement of the person within his own home, facilitating his autonomy. Companies are rethinking the whole house to make it smarter. To make life easier for seniors who live at home, every detail counts: windows that are easier to open, centralized remote controls that allow you to manage lighting, shutters, the temperature of the house…

It is all these innovations that improve the comfort of seniors. Beyond comfort, they help to avoid many problems and accidents of everyday life.

Silver economy, a market for better living and happiness

In addition to the offers that focus on making everyday life easier, others focus more on the leisure activities of seniors. And for good reason, being senior does not mean impotent. For many, on the contrary, it is the period of life conducive to the greatest freedom. The reason is very simple: they are still in great shape, have savings and significant purchasing power, usually more dependent children, and now full of free time!

Thus, and despite a health crisis, the share of seniors reporting living well their age reaches in 2020, 80% of 65 years and over. This is 6 points more than 2 years ago. Good news: this feeling is particularly true in older people. This year, 84% of 80 and over say they live well their age. That’s 13 points more. The figures even seem to remain positive one and a half years after the start of the health crisis. Indeed, according to Hesperides senior residences, only 7% of seniors felt isolated during the Covid period. 48% say they feel good and 35% feel very good.

The vaccine also has something to do with it because it gives hope for a return to normal life. Also, for seniors in Hesperides residences, it is the possibility for 41% of them to see their family again. But also to go on vacation (25%) or to resume exercise (19%).

It is therefore advisable not to reduce the senior to a population condemned to stay at home. Today, seniors are dynamic, connected and curious. The silver economy market therefore also thinks of offering pleasure.

Technology, travel, sport, nutrition… A silver economy market that adapts to all seniors

From now on, seniors are often equipped with new technologies. Also, the services offered in seniors are also available on these new media. Smartphone, connected TV, computer, smartwatch… Companies can then take advantage of it. In Bordeaux, for example, the company Sunday allows relatives to share photographs directly on the grandparents’ television screen.

On the leisure side, the senior trip also has the coast. Thus, many travel agencies specialize in organized trips from the age of 50.

sport senior couple silver economy leisure
The same goes for sport, which is seeing the emergence of ranges of clothing, accessories and even activities for seniors.

Soft gym, Nordic walking, swimming, yoga, water aerobics… Sport is even imported at home with small sports equipment. Designed to improve motor skills and maintain cardiorespiratory capacity in particular, senior sport is an essential well-being, as well as an anti-addiction solution.

Another flagship sector of the silver economy, health nutrition. Long confined to food supplements or products for the “very old”,senior food is now more glamorous and less stigmatizing. In search of healthy products with preserved taste qualities, young seniors in particular seek to preserve their health and have fun. They therefore expect product ranges adapted to their biological needs, to be integrated into their daily diet. This is particularly the bias of some consumer brands such as Saint-Hubert Omega 3 butter or Câlin cottage cheese rich in Calcium.

Home help, between associations and private companies

The wave of retirements has benefited players who have positioned themselves on the senior market, particularly inpersonal assistance. On the Bordeaux territory, many companies intervene to assist seniors on a daily basis.

Associations such as ASAD (Association of Services and Home Help) or Rayon de Soleil offer to intervene at home with dependent seniors in their daily activities according to their pathology or their needs. Help with domestic tasks, support in technical activities, accompaniment for appointments, remote assistance 7 days / 7 … But also helps to practice more or less specific care such as dressings or nursing.

For these often “isolated” people, maintaining social relationships is important. The assistants of these associations therefore accompany them outside for various activities, to keep in touch with other people. Some benefits are covered by the APA (Personalized Autonomy Allowance) for people over 60 years of age with a loss of autonomy. This is the case of remote assistance, which allows in one click to warn an intervention team in case of problem. This financial assistance is awarded according to certain criteria.

Other private sector players are also emerging, such as Silver Autonomie, which is at the disposal of people in need every day. Communicating on strong values such as listening, assistance, respect for the person, Silver Autonomie accompanies the elderly on a daily basis to provide them with assistance and human relationship, through company, games or reading. The accompaniment begins when the request for information is made, the person having the choice of professionals intervening to help him, with respect for the request and total transparency. These private solutions are more popular but also more expensive and are therefore more often aimed at a wealthy clientele. On average, families pay €2,220 per month for a relative in care.

A quest for autonomy at home that reinvents the profession of personal assistance

Many seniors refuse to move into a retirement home. In 2015, a survey found that 77% of people aged 65 and over refused to leave their homes, “even in a case of absolute dependency.” For comparison, only 5% are inclined to go to a retirement home. In 2020, 58% of highly dependent people even consider that they no longer experience the pleasure of living. The same goes for 40% of people with small health concerns and need a little help. A scathing observation that pushes to review the approach with this population.

This is due to fewer and fewer places available, often very high prices that the family cannot always pay, including for standard establishments, a loss of autonomy badly experienced,or the neglect of care and hygiene due to lack of staff.

senior dependent loss autonomy home help silver economy
Reinventing the home life of dependent seniors to live well in old age.

For this, many seniors prefer to live at home,asking for help with household chores, assistance in daily life or the visit of health professionals for consultations or taking medication.

Personal aids are much more than just everyday “helpers” for cleaning or everyday tasks. They discuss and provide a presence to isolated seniors, and in some cases can also identify problems or blockages related to the family context (distance of a child, conflict between two people, distance by the distance of the person with his family …)

Today, diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are starting earlier and earlier, as are some psychological diseases. For the latter, there is often a trigger that home helpers can identify during discussions, both with the person and with those around them.

Intergenerational colocation, the Silver economy solution for home support

In addition to the evolution of the human assistance professions, new trends are being created. In particular, we are witnessing the democratization of roommates between seniors and young people. In exchange for a daily presence, help with shopping, cleaning, the helping part benefits from a roof at a lower cost. This is often accommodating in view of the rents offered in student cities such as Bordeaux or Paris.

However, not regulated enough in some cases, intergenerational colocation,if not followed, can become difficult if one of the two people tends to take control over the other. Thus, there are organizations that organize the framework of the relationship in order to protect as much as possible the senior as the youngest. This is particularly the case in Bordeaux of Vivre Avec, Colocation 40+,or Ensemble2Générations.

Since the implementation of the Silver Economy,personal assistance solutions have multiplied and are increasingly sophisticated to meet everyday needs.

Robotics and Silver Economy: helping and protecting seniors with loss of autonomy

The company Blue Frog Robotics has launched the marketing of a small robot called Buddy (buddy, in English), designed for isolated seniors. It allows you to communicate with your loved ones by video chat, read and reply to messages. It can be programmed to perform various reminders: taking medication, various appointments or birthdays for example. To a lesser extent, it also allows a presence that facilitates social connection.

robotic home help silver economy
Robots for seniors cover broad needs ranging from presence to risk prevention.

The robotic solutions offered on the market can also prevent accidents such as falls, or inform about a lack of activity of the person. These intelligent robots also monitor homes, and can act within smart homes (turn off the lights that remain on, control the temperature of the house …).

These “cutting-edge” solutions are timely: according to INSEE’s forecasts for the year 2050, France will have 32% of people aged 60 and over, out of a population of 70 million inhabitants. For all those people who want to stay at home, these little robots are daily helpers, additional presences in addition to visits from the family, personal help for household chores, health professionals…


In Nouvelle-Aquitaine, there will be more and more dependent elderly people by 2030,INSEE, 2020 report

“Draft law on orientation and programming for the adaptation of society to ageing”. Official Journal of the French Republic, March 2015

“Aging at home, Health issues in the adaptation of housing”, ORS Île-de-France, June 2016

“The Great Age, a life to build”, AIA Architecture Health Environment Foundation, June 2015

Sunday Box – Send photos to your grandparents’ TV

Some key figures to know about retirement homes, Retirement Plus
5th edition of the European barometer of seniors IPSOS/KORIAN FOUNDATION,Capgeris, 21 September 2020

“The morale of our seniors in good shape!”, Hesperide infographic of September 2021

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