1. Large and growing elderly population
Italy has 60 million citizens, the average age is among the highest in the world and life expectancy is increasing. There are already over 13 million over-65s and over 4 million over-80s (respectively 22.5% and 7% of the population) and they represent 25% of the country’s private consumption, corresponding to € 185 billion annually. According to the World Bank, 35% of the Italian population will be 65 years old by 2050.
2. Economy under pressure
Italy is among the 10 largest world economies in the world and the second manufacturing country in Europe, but the economy is under great pressure. The country is characterized by many small and medium-sized companies that have delayed digitalization and internationalization. In the past 10 years 250,000 young people, many of them recent graduates, have left the country to work abroad and having Europe’s lowest birth rate is another “time bomb” threat to the Italian health and elderly care systems.
3. Large potential market dedicated to the elderly
The public sector in Italy does not have the same responsibilities as it does in other European countries, such as Denmark. Nursing homes, clinics, and home care programs are often private businesses and organizations receiving various levels of public grants and support, depending on the region and the services provided. When full-time care becomes necessary, many families hire a personal (often foreign) caregiver who typically moves in with the elderly. Family doctors, local hospitals and clinics are then involved when needed. In recent years, insurance companies have begun to take an interest in this market, in collaboration with startup communities. There is an incredibly wide range of scenarios and potential customers for innovative technology and welfare solutions.
4. High private savings
It is often pointed out that private savings are relatively high in Italy, both compared to other countries and to wage levels. Knowing that you largely depend on yourself even in old age favors the desire to have saving.
5. Investors in the Silver Economy
In addition to the growing focus on the Italian senior as a consumer, efforts are being made in several Italian regions to create the “new Florida” of Europe for foreign retirees who wish to spend an active old age in a milder climate. An investment strategy that must be supported by new business models and high quality services to guarantee personal security.
These are the top 5 reasons why I personally see a great untapped potential for technology innovation and international partnerships, also supported by new digital business models. I have lived in Italy for more than 15 years and have a good knowledge of the country, its regions and innovation environments. If you are reading this you might have products, services, experience with users and best practices.
So I ask you: how attractive is the Italian market from your point of view? What could make it even more interesting or allow you to start developing business and matchmaking?