Social Responsibility

The silver economy

Eighty is the new 20! A demographic shift is creating the so-called “silver” economy and a new and powerful consumer class. Here, we look at how new products and services meet the needs and expectations of an older population, and where standards will help.

After completing 22.547 km (about 14 miles) on a bike within one hour, 105-year-old cyclist Robert Marchand said: “I’m not a phenomenon. I’m not looking to make progress. When you get up over 100 years, you can’t mess around… Tonight, I’ll party with all my friends.” Words to live by.

Marchand isn’t alone. He’s one of the millions of French citizens over 60 who are living life to the fullest – even at the ripe old age of 105. The demographic evolution in recent years and the forecasts for the coming years show that France is entering the group of the “ageing countries”. According to the Institut national de la statisque et des études économiques (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies), 15 million French people are now over 60. In 2030, the number will have grown to 20 million and by 2060 to 24 million.


France is by no means an exception. Many countries are reinventing/reshaping the concept of retirement – and old age itself – by a record number of baby boomers who are, or are approaching, 65. The effects of this demographic shift are being felt well beyond the 105-year-old world record holder.

The economics of ageing

The world’s population is changing in ways that could barely be imagined a generation ago, and at a pace that is faster than any in recorded history. A recent United Nations World Population Ageing report cites that between 2015 and 2030, the number of people in the world aged 60 years or over is projected to grow by 56 %, from 901 million to 1.4 billion. And by 2050, the global population of older persons is anticipated to more than double its size of 2015, reaching nearly 2.1 billion.

This ageing society is largely due to increased life expectancy, a recent phenomenon that did not emerge until the 1970s. Additionally, fertility rates in developed countries, and in many economies, have fallen so far that they face a shortage of younger workers and consumers.


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