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Technology Trend

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The number and percentage of people globally aged 60 and above will increase between now and 2050.

Relevance to the Future of Logistics

Technology-Enabled Support in the Workplace

Employees in supply chain workplaces must always be mentally aware and often perform physically laborious tasks. This can be taxing on minds and bodies with the increasing average age of the workforce. New computer and robotic products and services can empower and encourage older workers to continue working in supply chains by improving health and safety while also reducing physical and mental stress.

Technologies like exoskeletons and teleoperated driving can reduce the risk of physical injury, while other digital support systems like augmented reality (AR) smartglasses and artificial intelligence (AI)-managed dashboards can reduce memory and cognitive demands. By supporting older employees in their tasks, supply chain organizations can retain long-tenured talent.

Flexible Workplace Policies

Supply chain workers, especially those in operations, often have arduous shifts and contracts that may not be a good fit for those who are older and considering retirement. As much knowledge can be lost when an employee retires, organizations can stop this brain drain by reviewing and reforming work policies to accommodate older employees.

Senior worker support packages, such as flexible hours and part-time employment, can help retain retiring talent in an era of labor shortages. With these accommodating policies, time-experienced employees can still support their colleagues and, in particular, extensively share their valuable knowledge and skills.

Elderly-Centric Customer Experience

With communities aging around the world, B2C logistics and delivery businesses must consider senior needs as part of the customer experience, especially in the digital realm. Recently, retailers and digital marketplaces have released ‘elderly-friendly’ versions of their apps, with less crowded interfaces, bigger text, navigation shortcuts, and digital connections with family to share products and manage expenses.

With more than 6 in 10 of today’s seniors in some countries owning a smartphone (and this is likely to increase in the future), B2C logistics players need to adapt and incorporate changes to accommodate and meet the expectations of older customers along the entire supply chain – from order placement to last-mile delivery – or risk losing market share to age-friendly competitors.

Last-Mile Value-Added Services

The lockdown policies of the COVID-19 pandemic cultivated the diversification of traditional delivery services with the aim of supporting the older population. With many senior citizens unable to leave their homes and restricted in their daily activities, businesses and governments collaborated to ensure they still received essential goods at home.

To lower the risk of virus exposure, pharmacies, grocery stores, and other businesses started offering contactless home deliveries. While lockdowns and other restricting policies have mostly been removed, last-mile services are anticipated to continue expanding beyond food and product delivery. In-home medical check-ups, home cleaning, transportation services, tech support, and auto-replenishment of goods such as medicines are speculated value-added last-mile services to be tested in the mid-term future.

Senior Product Flow

As the purchasing power of elderly consumers grows, the consumer market landscape is shifting towards the preferences of an older population. For example, European Commission reports predict substantial increases in demand for products and services in connected health, smart home solutions, wearable technology, age-friendly education, and silver tourism in the coming decades. Demand for common medical and pharmaceutical products like medication, wheelchairs, and prosthetics are also anticipated to rise.

Logistics organizations need to adequately prepare operationally for the gradual increase of these products in the supply chain and the challenges this will present, especially as providers begin offering more personalized products and bespoke services to older customers.


Technologies to handle or assist older workers with every physically and mentally taxing task may not yet exist or be ready for deployment at scale.
Compared to younger employees, older employees may require a different set of resources, settings, and learning pathways to acquire fluency with new technology tools.
Future personnel shortages, especially in seasonal peaks and line-haul transportation, will still likely result despite elderly-friendly policies.
Creating parallel services specifically for older customers like apps or last-mile delivery will require additional time and resources.
Business models for new logistics value-added last-mile services are not yet fully validated.

This trend should be ACTIVELY monitored, with imminent developments and applications.


The full impact of the Silver Economy trend in supply chain workplaces and marketplaces has yet to materialize. However, as global demographics continually move toward higher ages and as more people retire, we here at DHL see this trend maturing soon, with businesses taking active steps to retain older talent and attract senior customers.

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  1. UBS (2020): China’s silver economy
  2. Pew Research Center (2022): Share of those 65 and older who are tech users has grown in the past decade
  3. European Commission (EC) (2018): The Silver Economy
  4. World Health Organization (WHO) (2019): Decade of Healthy Ageing 2020-2030