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Preparing for the rise of the silver economy in e-commerce

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Due to technological advancements in healthcare and wellness, people worldwide are living longer, and their needs and demands are changing accordingly. The concept of a ‘silver economy’ has emerged to both describe and capture the economic potential of this ageing population. 

E-commerce companies looking to future-proof their business against this demographic change should know how to seek out new business opportunities linked to the silver economy. 

So just what is the silver economy, and how and why is it fast becoming one of the key trends in the e-commerce industry? How can e-commerce businesses meet the needs of an ageing or elderly population? And what role can DHL Express play in improving your e-commerce business journey amidst a silver economy? 

Read on for the answers to these pertinent questions.

What is the silver economy?

The silver economy refers to a system of producing and distributing goods and services targeted at individuals over the age of 50. 

It comprises numerous sectors aimed at tapping into the purchasing power of individuals in this age group, who often have specific practical or physical needs that distinguish them from younger consumers. For example, older people may require specific medical or specialised care (whether in the hospital or at home) that can drastically shape their lifestyle needs. 

Moreover, senior citizens play an integral role in the economy due to their relatively higher income or retirement savings. This combination of their increased purchasing power and specialised needs mean they are major consumers. Thus, the term ‘silver economy’ not only refers to changing demographics but also highlights the significant potential for expansion and growth in business opportunities related to their needs and wants.

As the population of seniors continues to grow rapidly worldwide, e-commerce businesses have the opportunity to leverage this market to increase their revenue. In 2021, Brookings estimated that there are currently 750 million seniors worldwide, with this figure likely to exceed 1 billion by 2030. Seniors are also the wealthiest group of consumers, and are expected to spend nearly US$15 trillion globally by 2030. The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) estimates that in Indonesia alone, the number of people aged 60 years and above will reach 57 million by 2040, with a silver economy market estimated to be worth US$7.5 billion by 2025.

These figures provide a clear indication that the silver economy is a key e-commerce trend that will reshape the e-commerce industry globally as well as locally in the years to come. Indonesian businesses that are able to properly adapt themselves to cater to the needs of this demographic thus have the potential to gain a significant advantage in the competitive online shopping environment.

How can businesses ride the wave of the silver economy?

There are two main ways businesses can seek out new opportunities linked to the silver economy.

1. Embracing the growing global senior workforce

The first is by welcoming senior employees into the workforce. As more seniors adopt an ‘active ageing’ attitude in their golden years, many are delaying retirement and remaining engaged in the job market. 

Companies that are able to attract and retain these older employees bring diversity, experience, as well as improved performance and productivity into the workplace. Companies and brands that are able to provide a conducive workspace for senior workers can also look forward to meaningful knowledge exchange that can better help them meet their strategic goals.

Businesses may employ various methods to better support senior employees, including:

  • Providing flexible hours and part-time work opportunities
  • Providing ergonomic furniture and comfortable workspaces
  • Communicating the value of senior employees to the entire team
  • Researching technological innovations that can help seniors access more work and business opportunities

As the nature of the e-commerce industry is that it can have a largely digital workplace footprint, e-commerce businesses are also in a better place to embrace remote or semi-remote work arrangements. This, along with the methods outlined above, make a business more attractive not only to senior employees, but to other potential employees seeking more flexible and accommodating work schedules.

In the long run, making an effort to create an inclusive workplace for silver economy employees can greatly benefit a company’s overall workforce, and attract high-quality employees from a variety of backgrounds.

2. Pivoting to new business angles targeted at senior consumers

The second way businesses can take advantage of the silver economy trend is by switching to or seeking out new e-commerce product and service sectors catering to the needs and demands of senior citizens. This could include product lines in the healthcare, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical industries, or services such as door-to-door grocery delivery or at-home medical care. Offering e-commerce options on top of brick-and-mortar sales also simplifies the ease of transaction for senior citizen consumers, as they can continue to shop for essential goods and services from the comfort of home.

On top of changing their product or service offerings, companies will also need to reconsider other aspects of their business strategy such as marketing methods, customer outreach, and delivery options. 

Unlike younger generations that can be easily reached through digital methods such as social media, outreach to senior citizens might require non-digital methods such as flyers and face-to-face interaction. Last-mile product or service delivery options should also have greater flexibility to adapt to the mobility needs of senior consumers. 

Some strategies business can embrace to better cater to this demographic include:

  • Offering free advice and pre-purchase support with clear calls-to-action (CTA)
  • Offering free post-purchase support through phone, email, or physical locations
  • Enhancing last-mile delivery services for the customer’s ease of convenience

How does DHL Express improve e-commerce aimed at the silver economy?

At DHL Express, we recognise the importance of the silver economy and its effects on the global economy. 

Senior citizens are increasingly shaping online shopping trends and fuelling the growth of new products and services, such as the healthcare and contactless delivery sectors. Businesses who are looking to embark on international e-commerce may see the rising silver economy as a key opportunity to capitalise on and expand their business offerings.

Businesses that are involved in the research, production, and distribution of medical equipment, medicines, and other wellness products and services to senior citizens can take advantage of specialised shipping solutions like DHL Express Medical Express Services. These services provide state-of-the-art, time-sensitive, and temperature-controlled shipping options crucial to ensuring your products arrive safely.

DHL Express can also help e-commerce businesses adapt to this change through our variety of services offering better accessibility for an older population. Through using MyDHL+, businesses in Indonesia can access more options for parcel tracking to ease the delivery process for both you and your customer. This includes our contactless delivery and last-mile value-added delivery services, both of which go a long way towards reassuring senior customers that a business has their safety and interests at the forefront.

We are constantly striving to innovate new product and service offerings to help e-commerce businesses seek out new opportunities and take advantage of upcoming global trends. Open a DHL Express business account today to find out how we can help your company discover and achieve new business goals, or reach out to our DHL call centres in Indonesia for more information on our services.