When I asked my dad for his boots-on-the-ground input for this story, his response was, “I don’t know what the trends are. Getting older?” But as I’ve seen him first hand bring about a pickleball renaissance, research electric cars and talk about visiting the Galapagos, I know the baby boomer generation is a lot more curious about the future than many would have you think. In fact, I believe 2023 will be the year boomers turn “OK, Boomer” on its head. Here, five trends poised to get ushered in by the generation that brought us free love, bra burning and Springstein.
From EVs to Gummies, Boomers Are Embracing These 5 Trends in 2023
1. Electric Cars
Maybe you never imagined Daddio trading in his beloved gas-guzzler for—*gasp*—an electric vehicle, but, according to Electrek, 2022 saw the biggest year ever in sales in the U.S. for EVs. While reports in the past have found that boomers are the least likely to purchase electric, we’re forecasting that 2023 will tell a different story. Don’t sleep on boomers’ futurist optimism. This is the generation that watched in awe as Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. They ushered in a sweeping evolution of technology that changed the face of daily life. (Bill Gates and Steve Jobs? Boomers.) So, no, they may not be beating millennials, who make up the majority of electric car evangelists, but as more and more legacy companies (boomers love a little tradition) enter the EV market with competitive products, boomers’ high-incomes, sheer numbers and curiosity for the future may just change what America’s roads look like.
2. Far-Flung Group Travel Tours
Our 2023 travel trends forecast calls it the year of “agoraphilia.” People are craving public life—even crowds—far beyond our quarantine pods. In fact, EF Go Ahead Tours, whose core demographic has historically been 65+, reports to have seen a 90+ percent increase in bookings through 2024 compared to 2021. But it’s not just any travel. “A trend we are also seeing is that our travelers appear to be traveling longer and electing long-haul, ‘bucket list’ trips that they have been dreaming about taking for years while the pandemic kept many people at home." Trips to Australia and New Zealand at Go Ahead are up 92 percent, while travel to Asia is doubling compared to the same time last year. So if you want to reach Pops, make sure you’ve got WhatsApp set up.
3. Gray Blending
When the gray hairs took over mid-2020, we saw a major uptick in natural gray. And while many of us zoomed back to our colorists as soon as salons reopened, many stayed to play with this new, kinda fun, kinda sexy graceful-gray thing. In doing so, our gray ladies have refined the trend even more, introducing gray blending to a wider audience. What’s gray blending you ask? It’s a transitional coloring process that incorporates gray hairs into your color. Per hair wellness brand Vegamour: “[Gray blending is] a methodology that allows you to keep your natural color while enhancing it with gray hair products or blending in the gray with colors similar to your natural tone. It's about embracing gray and enhancing it rather than covering it up completely.” In 2023, instead of admitting defeat in the no-man’s land between a few grays and dying your hair for the rest of your life, we see more women choosing the path that’s not only far easier to keep up, but elegant AF.
4. Fairy Dog Parents
America went a little pet crazy the last few years. In fact, the ASPCA reported that more than 23 million American households adopted a pet during the pandemic. And now, we are seeing a reckoning with how to care for these animals as we return to pre-covid life. The Washington Post reports, “With many doggy daycares and boarding centers nationwide reporting months-long waiting lists—and newly adopted pets often lacking the socialization for boarding—pandemic pet owners are appealing to families, friends and businesses to ensure their dogs are living their best lives, or at least not spending the day alone.” Enter: the fairy dog-parent, a cutesy name we’ve dubbed the network of people involved in raising one pet. As family members return to “before-life,” boomers are finding themselves sharing the load—financial and emotional—of taking care of their children’s beloved pets, showering them with long walks (thank you, retirement) and homemade treats. And the road goes both ways: younger generations are sharing pets with parents who might not be able to tend to them full-time.
5. “I Took a Gummy”
According to a 2020 Consumer Reports survey, nearly 20 percent of Americans 65 and older said they’ve tried CBD, or cannabidiol—a number that was up from 14 percent year over year. And it makes sense. A compound distilled from marijuana that’s not only legal to buy but supposedly a cure-all for everything from joint pain to insomnia, what boomer wouldn’t be enticed by the promises of CBD? Available in every form imaginable to bring on the chill and ease the pain, from skincare serums and bath bombs to sparkling waters and gummies, it’s becoming more and more common to ask Nana how she slept and hear her respond: “Great! I took a gummy.”