2020 Report

A Case for Market-based solutions for the 55+ population

January 2021

Table of Contents

  1. Background and Summary
  2. Ageing India: The unsexy story
  3. Global Outlook on Ageing
  4. Indian Agenda for Ageing
  5. Ageing in Cities
  6. Emergence of Market-based Solutions

1. Background and Summary

This report provides an overview of an India that is ageing, challenges faced by the elderly and identifies opportunities for brands and entrepreneurs to develop viable businesses in the space. It ends with a brief note on Silver Angels, an India-focused market creation platform for entrepreneurs and brands focused on the 55+ population.

As of 2016, India was home to 104 Mn (10.4 Crores) persons over the age of 60 years, representing 8.6% of the total population. The rate of growth of this population group is rising two times faster than the general population, and is expected to be 350 Mn by 2030. The average lifespan of the general population is also rising thanks to advancement in healthcare and access to health facilities, and this poses unique challenges. For example, the population above 80 years is likely to have lesser mobility and challenges are quite different from somebody that is 70 years old.

India has largely taken a social protection and welfare approach to addressing challenges faced by the elderly, and government policies and schemes are designed to target people over 60 years, referred as senior citizens. While age-based cutoffs make sense from a policy perspective as it ensures universality of protection, systematic allocation of resources (primarily for the vulnerable amongst this group) and better implementation and monitoring, it does not necessarily capture the aspirations and needs of different groups within the broader demographic. This report makes a case for private sector action through market-based solutions to address these emerging and unique needs.

The report takes a more liberal view of the process of ageing and believes that every individual, with or without family support, should be able to develop a personalized pathway. Reference to 55+ is used as an unscientific proxy to capture market realities and commencement of the planning journey into the silver years. While there are already noteworthy efforts in a few areas (housing, assisted living, home care services, training, etc.), the broader opportunity landscape seemed less explored, and the report explores this expanded landscape.

The report also recognizes that for markets to operate effectively and at scale, they need an enabling environment including supportive policy provisions, governmental action at national- and state- levels, an active and engaging civil society, better research and academic throughput, sectoral opportunities for businesses and investors to pursue them profitably, and a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that is willing to solve unique challenges arising from these opportunities. The last part of the report leads into the second stage of the broader effort – creation of a vehicle for market creation and investments focused on the silver economy – Silver Angels.

The report has been possible thanks to friends, professional acquaintances and many others that have patiently participated in this discovery and learning.