China’s 'Silver Economy' Is Here To Spend

    Government policies supporting products for elderly people point to China’s growing “silver economy.” How can luxury brands cash in?
    Government policies supporting products for elderly people point to China’s  growing “silver economy.” How should luxury cater to the needs of this demographic? Photo: Shutterstock
    Charlotte CaiAuthor
      Published   in Consumer

    What happened

    China’s Ministry of Industrial and Information Technology has issued a notice promoting the inclusion of clothing and products for elderly people in its 2022 product catalog. This aligns with the Chinese Community Party’s 14th five-year plan, published in 2020, which includes a section specifically prioritizing the wellbeing of elderly people through expansion of government support.

    The Jing Take

    This push to strengthen the “silver economy” is timely: China has one of the fastest growing aging populations, with the number of residents aged 60 and above set to reach 321 million by 2025. Whereas past generations were thrifty and spent a lot of their time at home or caring for grandchildren, the “new” older generation holds significant spending power and more free time compared to their Gen Z and Millennial consumer counterparts, making them readily available for discretionary spending.

    However, most of the pickings on the current silver economy apparel market are slim, with a single, and typically more traditional, style offered. Though this may present difficulties accounting for variabilities in consumption level and preferences within the group, experts at Economic Daily argue that apparel brands should focus more on innovating functionality — heat preservation, protection, deodorization, and of course, comfortability.

    The prioritization of wellbeing for silver economy members comes hand-in-hand with time and money devoted to health consciousness and aesthetic investments. Alongside needs-customized apparel, the elderly population expresses interest in health supplements, cosmetics, and jewelry. With government support and changing attitudes, the commercial significance of the “silver yuan” in apparel and health markets may just prove to be a thriving silver economy.

    The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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