Boomster: The Baby Boomer Hipster

Baby Boomers (those born between 1946–1964) have re-defined every life stage they have touched. From youth culture to corporate culture to retirement culture, Baby Boomers have changed our expectations and shattered preconceived notions about what it means to get older.

So what exactly is a Boomster? (Besides a word I made up.)

A Boomster is a Baby Boomer hipster. The adventure-traveling, craft-beer-drinking, urban-living Baby Boomer. In other words—my parents. And millions of Boomers just like them. My parents, both Boomers, recently sold their suburban home and moved to the hipster-dominated uptown area of Minneapolis. They walk everywhere. They go to the hot new restaurants. They are up on the latest art scene. In short—they are exponentially cooler than me.

My parents are not alone in this urban adventure. According to the American Housing Survey, 9.6% of households 55 and older in central cities lived in condos in 2011, up from 7.3% in 2005. Chris Leinberger, chairman of the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University School of Business, says, “Baby Boomers are tired of mowing the lawn. They’re looking for a more diverse environment. They are looking for adventure.”

After raising kids and working hard for many years, Boomers are not just looking for a simpler life; they are looking for a more diverse and energetic environment. For many Boomers, suburbs served as a pristine backdrop for raising children. But now, cities are becoming cleaner and more of the general populous is pouring into urban havens. In a 2011 National Association of Realtors poll, 19% of American said they wanted to live in a city, up from 13% in 2004.

Smart real estate developers are taking note of this growing Boomer trend. Toll Brothers, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, created a city living division marketed to “young people with money.” They were shocked to see that many of their city properties were being sold to Boomers. It appears that creating space for “young people with money” is not that different than creating space for a Boomster.

The travel and hospitality industries are coming across similar trends. The days of spending vacations laying by the pool and golfing in Palm Beach may become passé. A study conducted last year by the US Tour Operators Association—which serves six million travelers, most of whom are Baby Boomers—found that adventure travel is ranked first in all “experiential” travel categories. From scuba diving trips to the Galapagos to African safaris to climbing adventures in the Rocky Mountains, Boomers are changing the way we view post-retirement travel.

Bottom line, the Boomster trend is growing, and it’s changing the way professionals need to communicate with and market to this segment. Individualistic and youthful Boomers are looking for new ways to grow and expand their horizons. Are you prepared to offer that to them?

If you work in the real estate industry, travel industry, or hospitality industry, reach out to us to hear more about how we can help you better connect with this young-at-heart generation.