The mega trend of aging population can be seen as a challenge, but it also creates new possibilities and business opportunities in versatile business areas. In textile industry, there are unutiziled smart textile innovations that may be commercialized into user friendly wellness and smart products for the 50+ population.
In order to develop new products and services for the older citizens, the University of Jyväskylä and Happy Textiles have launched a research and development program called Smart Textiles in Silver Economy. Financed by Business Finland Co-Creation phase instrument, the project is aiming for a company collaboration and research for the wider, several years of Co-Innovation phase.
Why is Silver Economy more important than ever before?
There are multiple factors that make Silver Economy a current topic for companies looking for growth in the 50+ market segment.
1. The number of aging people is increasing rapidly
Ever higher life expectancies mean the number of older people is increasing. According to the Ageing report of European Commission, the number of 50+ population globally will grow from 2 034 billion up to 6 billion in by the year 2070.
2. Specific needs and preferences
According to the Silver Economy article of Sona Pai from Georgetown University, people 50+ value the following features in products:
- Safety: pleasant and safe user interface
- Health: Measuring activity, data for rehabilitation and preventive health care, sending data out if needed
- Connection: devices with easy access to family and professionals
- Comfort: comfortable, easy to wear, easy to put on and off, easy to wash and maintain, ecological, good branding and design
3. More resources available
Nowadays, the aging people have more money at their disposal than ever before. In addition, employees of 50+ employers are willing to invest on means that improve and enhance the work ability and well-being.
4. Change of lifestyle
The lifestyle is changing as people have more active years than ever, they work longer and retire later. Being a heterogeneous group, the 50+ population has diverse needs depending on age, and thus could be seen as two different groups. The 50 – 65-years-old citizens that are working and leading a more active life. The citizens 65+ that are mostly retired and leading a more peaceful life, and may also suffer from different disabilities or diseases.
5. Technological development
Technological development, like 5G, enable new innovations to be created and implemented. The race of the competing technologies are effecting the development of smart textiles as well. The standards and inter phases for the new smart textiles and devices are now being gradually defined.
Join the “Smart Textiles in Silver Economy” project
The project combines two significant and timely consumer phenomena: the rapidly growing older population and personal, data-based wellness services. The project studies the most relevant and advanced body measuring technologies for the aging population and how to utilize them in versatile well-being products and services. The main themes are body measuring technologies, sport and well-being, wearable electronics, clothing and accessories.
The objective is to build an R&D network specialized in user friendly wellness and smart textiles products. The Finland based know-how network to be built for this growth market, can reach the new business potential of 100 billion euros for Finnish companies.
We want to welcome more companies to join the Smart Textiles in Silver Economy Project as it has just started and it will last for several years.
The advantages of the project is that you will hear the latest research information on aging, share your expertise and innovations and connect and collaborate with other participating companies.
Please ask for further information:
Vesa Linnamo, University of Jyväskylä
+358 405044800, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jorma Kallio, Chairman of the Board, Happy Textiles
+358 400 542 999 email@example.com
Sini Saalasti, CEO, Happy Textiles
+358 40 503 2874 firstname.lastname@example.org
European Commission, 2018 The 2018 Ageing Report
Georgetown University, Sona Pai (2018) The Rise of the Silver Economy