India is indeed a young country, with over 65 per cent of its population under the age of 35 years. However, there are 110 million elders in this country, who are above the age of 60, out of whom, 40 per cent live in urban India. From adult diapers, diagnostic and medical services to senior citizens residential complexes and security devices, the elder care market in India is worth $1.5 billion. The coronavirus pandemic has seen an over 40 per cent surge in the Indian elder care market. The lockdown has made the elderly lonelier and helpless and they have lapped up home care services. Many of them have also signed up with platforms that enable them to socialise virtually. Attending online housie sessions and antakshari competitions are much sought after by the elderly today.
Emoha Elder Care, which offers technology-supported elder care services at people's doorsteps has seen a 30 per cent growth in business during the pandemic. The elder care services company which offers a host of services such as home ICU and other healthcare related services as well as engagement platforms, across 30 cities, claims to have saved over 65 lives during the pandemic.
"Many of them had health emergencies and our paramedic team reached them in 30-40 minutes at the press of a button," explains Saumyajit Roy, Co-Founder, Emoha Elder Care. The Emoha app is equipped with sensor-based technology which helps find out the moment an elderly customer is in any kind of trouble.
Kartik Johari, Vice-President, Nobel Hygiene (which manufactures the Friends brand of adult diapers), says that the lockdown has pushed the elderly to break out of the stigma of not accepting that they need to use diapers. "Our target audience has always been our biggest roadblock, as they prefer to suffer rather than accept that they are in trouble. COVID and the challenges around it has pushed them to use diapers. They are more open to talking about adult diapers."
Johri says that the Rs 7,000 crore adult diaper market has seen a high double-digit growth in the last eight months. "We have created volunteer groups and have delivered diapers to our consumer's homes through the pandemic," Johri further adds.
The pandemic has also encouraged the elders to shop more on e-commerce platforms. Seniority, an e-commerce platform targeted at the elderly, has seen a 40 per cent growth in new consumer acquisition in the past six months. "We not only reached our pre-COVID numbers right after the lockdown 1.0, the number of new customers grew organically. E-commerce buying among seniors has increased by 50 per cent," says Tapan Mishra, Co-Founder, Seniority. Mishra is confident of a 25-30 per cent growth in FY21, despite the first quarter being a washout due to the lockdown.
Elders have been consuming entertainment and also socialising virtually. Roy of Emoha says that his platform through the pandemic has done over 600 online programmes to enable the elderly to socialise. "We got elders from Agra to Kolkata and Noida to play antakshari virtually."
Elder care in the US is a $7 trillion economy. The elder care market in India is rapidly growing too, which means there is ample opportunity for marketers to create solutions for the silver generation.