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As countries worldwide grapple with the social and political ramifications of a global ageing population, there is one sector where the effect of this demographic shift is often overlooked – the silver economy. Ageing population trends have made shoppers aged 50 and above more commercially viable than ever before, resulting in the rise of a ‘silver economy’.
Recent estimates project that this age group will spend just under $15 trillion by 2030, making it imperative that companies begin to engage them now or lose out on crucial business opportunities. Deloitte even estimates that seniors aged 50 and above will make up 32% of Asia-Pacific populations by 2030, yet contribute 52% to the total regional economy. Ageing Asia’s Silver Economy Index 2020 even ranks Singapore as holding the biggest potential for silver economy business opportunities.
DHL is leading the way in adapting to and anticipating the global effects of the silver economy, particularly by offering new services for senior customers and new opportunities for senior workers. Seniors worldwide are adopting an ‘active ageing’ approach throughout their golden years, including keeping up with the latest technological advances or staying engaged in the workforce. E-commerce businesses should expect seniors to make up a larger proportion of their online shopping audience as well as potential workforce.
One way the e-commerce industry can take advantage of the rising silver economy is to embrace new or emerging product and service sectors such as healthcare, grocery delivery, and telehealth. The COVID-19 pandemic has already provided a powerful boost to such online shopping services, with many general e-commerce platforms launching their own grocery or produce delivery services. DHL Express have also adapted their last mile delivery services to make delivery safer and more enjoyable for senior citizens, such as contactless delivery.
Healthcare-related products are another segment that is particularly relevant to an ageing population, especially one that will have to deal with common long-term health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension. Research, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical companies looking to expand their e-commerce offerings for seniors can explore specialised shipping solutions such as DHL Medical Express (WMX) which are well-versed in handling time-sensitive, high-priority shipments.
Existing product sectors including food and beverage, tourism, or transport can also pivot to offer new online shopping options, such as pureed food and beverage items that can accommodate seniors or individuals who experience difficulties in swallowing. Mobility vehicles and aids will also become more popular amongst senior shoppers, such as automatic wheelchairs or ergonomic canes.
The traditional model of growing old, retiring, and living out our golden years is also slowly becoming a thing of the past. More senior workers are prologing retirement or coming out of retirement to seek re-employment for a variety of reasons. These include financial needs, family pressure, or simply a desire to stay physically and mentally active and engaged despite their advanced age.
Simultaneously, there is a global labour shortage due to unprecedented events such as the COVID-19 pandemic with companies worldwide struggling to retain key talent in the form of younger workers. Senior workers who are returning to the workforce can help to bridge this gap through a knowledge exchange, bringing in their decades of experience from previous careers or jobs.
DHL is looking into technological innovations such as bionic enhancement that can help support senior citizens by enabling them to access a greater variety of work and business opportunities. Such innovations go beyond simply boosting the silver economy, and can even help ensure accessibility and inclusivity throughout each step of the supply chain.
The effects of the silver economy have not fully hit us, and yet, businesses are already beginning to pivot to accommodate this crucial demographic change. DHL Express provides last-mile value-added services to help streamline the e-commerce journey for senior consumers, connecting customers to businesses that can provide the goods and services they are searching for. Find out how we can serve as your trusted logistics partner by applying for a business account with us today.