Silver Economy in Catalonia

The silver economy sector in Catalonia has grown by 29% since the pandemic, reaching 700 companies and representing almost 4% of Catalonia’s GDP in 2021.

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Silver economy, a growing sector in Catalonia.

The silver economy, primarily accepted to be those products and services consumed and purchased by people over 55, is a growing sector globally. Life expectancy and improved health conditions for older generations are becoming a significant demographic in economic terms.  

In Catalonia alone, this sector represented almost 4% of the GDP in 2021. Moreover, the number of companies dedicated to the silver economy has increased by 29% since the pandemic, amounting to 700.

According to Catalonia Trade & Investment’s report on the silver economy, Catalan companies generate 9,76 billion euros in turnover, which has increased by 8.4% since 2017. This is not surprising when we consider that today 32.6% of Catalonia’s population is over 55, and the average life expectancy is 84.5.

A varied demographic with different needs

Of course, the silver economy demographic cannot be defined in simple terms, given that there are significant differences in the needs of those that are healthy and those that suffer from illnesses.

Breaking down these needs of products and services, we can classify them into four large groups: health, healthcare services, active aging, independence, and quality of life. Of course, some of these sectors overlap, but all offer different opportunities, especially considering global trends in new technologies, medical devices, brain fitness, or mobility.

Silver economy, an active ecosystem full of opportunities

703 companies work in Catalonia in the silver economy, with 56% specializing in this sector, i.e., generating over half their income from it. Unsurprisingly, the subsector generating the most turnover with €4.69B and 202 companies is health.

This includes companies like Bayer, Novartis, and Nestlé producing silver economy products, as well as specialized health services areas such as eye and dental care and traumatology.

Active aging comes next with 137 companies and €2.41 B in turnovers, such as senior travel services and leisure, cosmetics, and medical insurance. In third place, independence and quality of life with 115 companies and a turnover of €1.55 B. This sector includes eyewear, hearing aids, hygiene, and orthopedic products, to mention just a few.

Finally, with 249 companies and €1.11 B turnover in the healthcare services sector, we find companies working in senior care and its auxiliary services, such as food services, equipment, and furnishings.

  • 703 companies

  • 51,154 professionals

  • €9,76 billion euros in turnover

​​​​​​All this activity has also attracted the attention of foreign investors

Catalonia has also recently seen a significant number of attractive investments in the silver economy. Worth mentioning are, for example, Essity, the Swedish multinational paper manufacturer of products such as Tena, which located its center of logistics excellence in Barcelona to manage the group’s logistics worldwide, creating 120 new jobs in the process.  

Neuraxpharm, a European leader in pharmaceuticals for disorders affecting the central nervous system, has invested €11 M in expanding its production facilities in Sant Joan Despí and Castellbisbal.

As proof that there is space for innovation in this sector, the Catalan startup Pensium, which enables older homeowners to pay for their retirement homes by renting out their residences, raised €10,25 M between 2019 and 2021, two financing rounds to boost their expansion.

Startups have set their sights on the silver economy

Today, 41 startups in Catalonia are creating and marketing products and services specifically targeting older people. Almost 50% offer products or services for detecting, diagnosing, and even treating ailments linked to aging, such as dementia and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Healthcare services and monitoring solutions are considered specific business opportunities for startups interested in capitalizing on growth in these areas.


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