‘Faux families,’ ‘retro sports’ likely new trends for aging boomers
The nation’s 78 million baby boomers will not go gently into old age.
They are vast in number and heavy in buying power, and have emerged with a few unorthodox 1960s behaviors intact.
Klatches of single boomers may start forming “faux families” to share holidays, daily living and life’s big moments, at least according to the Top 10 Boomer Trends Forecast from Age Lessons, a Chicago-based marketing group.
Traditional retirement-friendly sports such as golf or tennis will get competition from throwbacks from the Beaver Cleaver era. Goofy “retro sports” such as tether ball, flag tag and even hopscotch will reemerge on the streets and in “micro-developments,” with cul-desacs dedicated to such activities.
We’re talking boomer housing developments crisscrossed by “Aerobic Avenue” and “Hiking Heights,” the list notes.
“By dint of size and purchasing clout, the boomer cohort continues to set trends in areas as wide-ranging as the workplace, wellness, technology, recreation, family life and politics,” spokeswoman Laurel Kennedy said.
Boomers, she predicted, will “rediscover their revolutionary roots and engage in the political fray to influence the electoral agenda and outcomes” while engaging in a spate of hippie-era staples such as storytelling, folklore and sundry artistic pursuits. Big personal events — anniversaries, birthdays and the like — will provide fodder for the next wave of reality television devoted to over-the-top lifestyle celebrations.
A new legal field may emerge as well: arbitrators who step in between boomers and their aging parents and financially strapped “boomerang” children who return home to roost.
Although she is not supplying technological specs, Miss Kennedy forecasts that boomers will soon sport specialized earbuds — not for listening to Jimi Hendrix but for help during a “senior moment.” The quintessential boomer will use “real-time data feeds” based on news anchors’ ear prompters to supply missing information, she said.
“Boomers are redefining what midlife looks, feels and sounds like in American society, embracing technologies that enable them to remain engaged and active longer,” Miss Kennedy said.
Last year, boomers spent $2.3 trillion on electronics and other fancy new media, outspending the 18- to 39-year-old age bracket by 53 percent, according to a study by TV Land, the nostalgia cable channel. This week, Florida-based Boomers and Seniors World Network, an Internet provider, began selling 300 boomer-themed domain names to accommodate the burgeoning “young senior” market. Its stable includes Boomerrepublicans.com, Boomers4hillary.com and Boomercash.com, among others.
Meanwhile, Boomers outspend all other age groups in cosmetics, restaurants, home remodeling, holiday travel and even gardening — now recast as “yardening” by the Garden Writers of America, which maintains that 70 percent of boomers entertain outside in wellplanted bowers.
They are a determined group. An AARP study of 800 boomers found that only 1 percent said age was a barrier to achieving their goals, while one in five want to live to be 100.