The future is for the old! The silver economy, a sector of the future

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The health crisis caused by Covid-19 has largely highlighted a part of our society that is extremely sensitive and vulnerable, but also holds a high potential market: the elderly, especially those aged 70 and over. There is an expression that refers to this part of the population and that highlights many economic issues related to aging: the silver economy. A recent concept, born and conceptualized in the 2000s, the silver economy is increasingly becoming a social issue that will be debated in the years to come. In an era where we are living longer and longer, questions and developments around the health and well-being of seniors, with the aim of improving their comfort and adapting to their uses and lifestyles, are going well. Tomorrow, we will be in their place. This is why Serge Guérin, a sociologist specializing in issues related to the aging of society, already exclaimed today: “The future is the elderly!

“The future is in the hands of the elderly”: when silver economy rhymes with today

The future is the elderly!   said Serge Guérin during an interview in the context of the opening of the MSc2 Management & Marketing of the Silver Economy on our Paris campus in September 2020. The assertion may be surprising, but it reveals a real issue in our contemporary society. Covid-19 highlighted the lives of many elderly people who depend on the care and staff of EHPADs to protect themselves and live their lives with dignity.

Beyond this same population of EHPADs in the territory, the question of the protection of the most vulnerable people has occupied and still occupies the public debate. Our actions, our words and even our inaction through containment have proven the tremendous impact our actions can have on others. This exceptional period naturally leads us to question how we can accompany this part of the population in their daily lives, but more importantly, it is now essential to understand their needs in order to be able to respond to them and, above all, anticipate them. Being attentive to the other, especially to a part of the population considered more vulnerable and often little taken into account in the economic markets, will be the challenge of the next few years in the post-Covid-19 era.

Numbers that support the importance of a growing population

Not content with being a project supported by the French governmentThe silver economy also asserts its importance in figures, as reported by Serge Guérin and Cédric Rassaby, Deputy Director and Director of the Management, HR & Health Pole of the INSEEC Paris MSc & MBA program – and these figures only concern France:

“” In 2030, 20 million people will be over 60 years old, compared to 15 million today. In 2050, 4.8 million people will be over 85 years old, compared to 1.4 million today. According to the Centre de recherches pour l’étude et l’observation des conditions de vie (CREDOC), 54% of spending by individuals was by seniors in 2015. Numbers that are going to increase. This “demographic transition” is a challenge for society and offers a new opportunity for economic development.

The silver economy appears to be a high potential market estimated at 0.25 point of GDP per year and 93 billion euros, which will reach 130 billion in 2030. “”

These figures show that many of the problems facing society today will intensify if nothing is done to anticipate them: recruitment, which is sometimes problematic, and the permanence of older people in their jobs, at the end of their careers or in the midst of professional retraining, are subjects that will become more and more pressing. The question of retirement also poses a challenge: can our finances withstand an aging population? Can the current system absorb this demographic transition?

Serge Guérin’s intervention on January 30, 2020 in the program 28 minutes on Arte
on the subject of pensions in the face of aging populations

Specific issues that respond to aging populations

What’s more, health also becomes a major issue as we age. Now that digital technology has become a necessity for everyone and is no longer an issue for the Y generation alone, the subject of e-health and its accessibility to seniors is also entering the public debate. For example, the containment has highlighted the ease of teleconsultation via one’s smartphone, as a backup to face-to-face consultations for certain less serious health cases.

The silver economy is not only a societal issue but also, as its name suggests, an economic one: seniors’ tastes are evolving and developing, and many markets are opening up to them: clothing, decoration, finance, insurance, tourism, luxury, sports, etc.

This economy is based on new behaviors: facilitating access to technology for seniors (in the design of computer goods that must adapt to multiple factors: mobility, motor skills, non-habitability, etc.) or taking into account a new couple, the “caregiver/assisted“” when the senior is accompanied in his or her daily life – often by a relative, a friend, a caregiver – are entry points into the silver economy that are not natural when we think about how we can approach this industry. The loneliness of some seniors in their daily lives must also be taken into account.

These concerns are not national but global: all countries are facing this problem. demographic transition that will continue to grow, as reported by Le Monde among many other media and associations, and disrupt our societies in the remodeling of living spaces, employment, health, our pension system, etc.

An MSc with a future

In light of these figures and issues, the communication and marketing transformations that must accompany and support the steps taken are of crucial importance. Generalist communication is no longer possible: “”Marketing professionals must (…) build an adequate offer for the diverse and varied life paths of seniors. It is a question of understanding all the specificities of the territory’s mobility issues, leisure activities, needs in terms of tourism, housing, or the impact of connected objects”, Serge Guérin and Cédric Rassaby report.

If some regions accompany and support these transformations with financial and logistical aid, as reported by the Occitania Region for example, it now seems necessary to go further and address this societal issue upstream by training young people – the old of tomorrow – in this crucial economy. Although generalist training in marketing and communication allows for a broad understanding of the tools and techniques used, it does not allow for students to be fully aware of and interested in this crucial subject, which, in view of the current context, will also provide jobs in the years to come.

The Master of Science 2nd year Management & Marketing of the Silver Economy that we will open at the beginning of the school year in September 2020, backed by the TheMSc2 Director of Healthcare Institutions and MSc2 e-Health Management, led by Serge Guérin, are rooted in this reality. Delivering a level 7 RNCP title – formerly level 1 – and sanctioning a 5-year degree, this new training course is fully in line with the reality of the market thanks to a faculty composed of hospital directors, doctors, entrepreneurs, health marketing professionals and senior managers of senior residences or EHPAD.

To approach with kindness and tact a subject often considered as a “problem” (the theme of aging well is proof of this), from a resolutely marketing angle. (the theme of aging well is proof of this), from a marketing perspective, such is the ambition with which the MSc & MBA of INSEEC Paris wishes to carry this training.

Updated 24 February 2022