Silver Lining in French Economy

Kirova Maya - 24/11/14

France’s Silver Economy is turning into a precious commodity, growing at 4% during the past few years and projected to create 300,000 jobs by 2020. The high value resource behind the silver economy is expected to grow healthily, providing an abundant market for French and foreign business. However, the most shocking element of this market is that it has nothing to do with metals.

Products for consumers over the age of 65
In fact the silver economy is a term that refers to the economy that produces products for consumers over the age of 65, who require services tailored to their specific tastes and needs, from accommodation to health and leisure.

According to demographic projections, 23 million French people or simply one third of the population will be over 65 by 2030. Many other European and Western countries are experiencing similar developments in their demographics and their retirees are searching for communities across the continents that are very specific. Furthermore, wealthy retirees from Eastern countries are also looking for lifestyles with a certain quality that they may not be able to find so readily back home.

In France : a focus on health and quality of living
Amina Sambou, project manager of the Silver Economy at Ubifrance, is confident that France can excel in servicing the domestic and foreign market: “in France, we have a focus on health and quality of living which has already created a market with a strong infrastructure for retirees who are interested in quality of living.” Therefore it is not a surprise that French companies are experiencing interest from consumers in countries like Japan, South Korea, and China who, according to Mrs. Sambou, are “interested in the French way of ageing.”

New French companies are already popping up in anticipation of vast opportunities in the next decade. Silver Valley is the French answer of California’s Silicon Valley, combining technology and location to create a future for the Silver Economy.  Less than 10 kilometers from Paris, this collaboration of French businesses will create a nexus for all sides of the market: research facilities for innovation partners, a business park for product and service oriented businesses, and attractive real state for retirees.

The older market segments will become more relevant for all businesses in the next decade
Demographics, such as longer life expectancy, decrease in birthrate and retirement of the ‘baby boomer’ generation are certainly reasons why the older market segments will become more relevant for all businesses in the next decade. However, this is not the only reason why businesses need to stay ahead of the market: seniors in France represent 43% of income, 60% of real estate and 72% of financial investments. Therefore, it’s not just the size of the market but also its focus on high value products, which make it a priority for all business strategists.  The French organization in this market is unparalleled.

Six French regions have been chosen to lead the Silver Economy in France
Six French regions have been chosen to lead the Silver Economy in France, with each producing its own nexus similar to that of Silver Valley. Another example is Toulouse’s aptly named campaign “So Toulouse.” The 4th city in France has been recently made famous for being recession proof – a beacon of private sector growth in France over the last decade. Part of the success of this city and region has been its focus on education and technological innovation. This has translated into smart services for seniors, including smart homes, e-health services, and a hospital solely dedicated to the elderly. Also, the region’s status as the 2nd most popular agro food region in France does not hurt its already fantastic pitch.

So far it seems that a large part of the French know-how has to do with elements rooted in France itself. However, much of the French advantage is exportable, and French companies have been finding successes in such events as last June’s Silver Economy connection in Atlanta.

Two pilot programs with two large senior living and homecare organizations…
Sandrine Sauvage-Mack, Senior Trade Advisor at Ubifrance, recounts how the French multi product and service conglomerate La Valeriane was able to secure two pilot programs with two large senior living and homecare organizations:  “After a great first impression with Leading Age, the American Federation for the ageing populations, they were certain to add more pilots and clinical trials with American universities and research centers.” Ubifrance, the French agency for export promotion with 80 offices over seas, will continue promote French companies at events dedicated to the French Silver Economy abroad and at home.

Click here for more information about French companies http://www.ubifrance.com/french-exporters-directory/search.aspx

Or contact The French Trade Commission UBIFRANCE in Bulgaria: sofia@ubifrance.fr, 02 437 30 30

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