for social entrepreneurship

Demographics: the world is turning faster and faster

Market trends

Demographics: the world is turning faster and faster

Global population patterns are changing fast due to factors such as migration and population ageing. As a result, new needs are arising that the traditional formulas do not satisfy.


A significant proportion of Europe’s population derives from migration, particularly in the cities. In Belgium, migrants formed nearly 18 percent of the population in 2010. Migration is not a new phenomenon, yet there are still few entrepreneurs offering specific products and services for this growing segment. However, we are seeing a rise in ‘ethnic’ products, partly due to initiatives by the migrant community itself. 
One example is the bank ING, which has developed a special marketing and sales approach for ethnic communities in Brussels. For instance, the bank has its communications translated into Polish, and a Polish speaker has been recruited to provide a better insight into the needs of Polish customers and increase market share in this segment.

Old people
By 2025, 20 percent of Europe’s population will be over the age of 65; by 2050 the figure will be as high as 47 percent. Living longer is a positive result of progress, of course, but there are also associated challenges: an increase in age-related health conditions such as dementia or macular degeneration (an eye disease that affects the central field of vision), rising healthcare costs, an increasing need for rest and nursing homes and people to staff them and more widespread isolation. 
Addressing these needs will not only improve old people’s quality of life, but also ensure that older people can carry on contributing actively to society and their circle of friends and family. 
Examples are initiatives such as Gymsana and Fitclass, which help old people to overcome their physical and psychological problems with safety training and exercise programmes.
Another boom sector is intergenerational living: an old person living in a big house provides accommodation to a family or student in exchange for a lower rent and help around the house with odd jobs. One example of this is the organisation1Toit2Ages.

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