Seniors: a resource
How important, today, is the personal care sector for us?
It is generally held that ageing of population has negative effects. Especially in the West it’s associated with disease, weakness and unproductiveness. Considering the global nature of this trend, however, it’s useful to look at it from another point of view: of course, an aging society may be less productive, but only if it’s unable to make a virtue out of necessity.
On the one hand it’s active aging, that covers the whole range of the population over 65, increasingly smart and healthy, who demands a proper role in employment.
On the other side there is the white economy, which includes the entire economic chain of personal care, assistance and security. A 290 billion euro business only in Italy, according to Censis, which represents the 9.4% of GDP, following trading but higher than construction and transport sectors.
The many areas of the white economy create a wide and diverse employment, which is equivalent to about 3.8 million workers who work directly or indirectly in this sector. As many as 16.5% of the country's employees.
Moreover, according to Censis, the welfare-oriented sector is also “an amazing tool for the country's development”, because it generates significant multiplier effects on the rest of the economy. It should be sufficient to recall that 100-euro spent or invested in the white economy produce 158 euro of additional income in the economy system. And for 100 new work units in this area, become active other 133 jobs in Italian economy system.
But the economy generated by the seniors’ needs isn’t limited to health and personal care. According to Merrill Lynch, the silver economy - the chain related to the rights, needs and demands of the population over 50 - is estimated as many as 7 trillion per year: in fact it’s the world's third largest economy.
If in Europe by 2060 one in three people will be over 65, it remains to be seen which specific needs and services, new technologies and new products, are required in this respect. For example: stores with wider aisles, perhaps with the addition of seats, especially near the queues, and increasing font size for indications.
Japan – a very silver country, as everybody knows – is a leading country in this sector, making the way for nations such as Germany, China, South Korea and Italy. The Aeon Group is already equipped, with wider aisles, rest areas in its markets, and a strategy aimed at targeting senior consumers. Such as pet care product, wigs and single-portion of food.
Of course, the aging of a society presents many challenges: maintaining economic growth, providing proper care and managing the pension system. But considering only the burdens doesn’t grasp the potential that demographic change lays out.
We have to respond to this growing demand for health, care and retirement planning services that come with a longer life expectancy, also because these needs reflect the basic requirement for the human being of living long, comfortable lives.