As some of the global economy’s main drivers, the over-50s are an attractive target market — so much so, they're now grouped in a new market category.
According to the World Bank, average global life expectancy shot up from 65 in the early 1990s to 73 in 2020. The hike in longevity stems from better healthcare, working conditions and nourishment, as well as access to clean water.
The higher life expectancy, which is now 80 years in the EU, 77 in the US, and 76 in Latin America and the Caribbean, brings about several challenges and opportunities for economic development. The “silver economy” is the name given to markets that meet senior citizens’ needs.
Who makes up the silver economy?
“Silver economy” consumers (from "silver" hair) are over the age of 50. According to a European Commission report, if everybody over 50 in the EU were one country, it would be the third largest economy in the world.
Why do the over-50s have “financial muscle”? Because they have shed economic burdens like raising children, are wiser at managing their financial health and amass savings during their career, they generally have greater purchasing power than young people.
And because they have more free time to enjoy their “second wind”, they are a potent economic driver, seeking tailor-made telecommunications, entertainment, nutrition, automotive, tourism, health and banking products and services.
Three pillars of the silver economy in the future
The same data that show people are living longer also indicate that the silver economy will only grow stronger. 40% of household spending in the EU came from over-50s in 2015, but it’s expected to be 44% by 2025. Three industries are expected to stand out: