SEOUL, May 14 (Korea Bizwire) – Korea’s aging society is affecting both consumers and businesses, as both the working class and consumers are growing older.
According to the Hyundai Research Institute, the market for senior citizens was valued at 27 trillion won in 2012. The market is expected to increase by an average of 13 percent annually and become a 78-trillion-won industry by 2020.
The rising number of single-person senior households will likely become the major target customers for this industry.
Single-person households are anticipated to represent 45 percent of all households (aged 65 years and older) by 2035.
“The number of single-person senior households, who are big consumers of food and medicine, continues to rise. The number of upper class seniors is also rising, expanding their influence in the market,” said one of the researchers.
The number of working elderly individuals is also on the rise.
In 2000, 59 percent of those aged between 55 to 64 years were economically active. The number increased to 66.2 percent in 2014.
Companies are reacting to the changes.
Since 2003, Panasonic has enforced a system that encompasses ‘universal design’ in its product development. Universal design refers to ideas that are accessible to the elderly, people with disabilities, and people without disabilities.
Corporations are also adopting more senior-friendly work routines.
The service industry is implementing flexible workspaces, and manufacturers are discontinuing overnight shifts.
“We need active policies to better prepare for our future population decline,” said an institute official. “We will also need to establish a more flexible and age-friendly labor system.”
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)