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Here Comes the Boom: 15 Things You Should Know About the Next Wave of Seniors

05/26/2015 05:57 pm ET | Updated May 26, 2016
Alamy

What do Michael Jordan, David Letterman, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Madonna have in common? They're all Baby Boomers -- and they have lots of company. Baby Boomers are roughly 77 million strong in the U.S. alone. The oldest Boomers are already senior citizens, and the youngest Boomers are or will soon be receiving their AARP applications in the mail. In fact, an American turns 50 once every seven seconds!

Baby Boomers are redefining what it means to get old. They lead more active lifestyles, work longer, live longer, enjoy better health and earn more than past generations of seniors.

Keeping up with shifts in Baby Boomers' tastes and preferences is tricky, given the sheer size and diversity of this segment. Let's take a glance at 15 Boomer trends.

Boomers are tech-savvy. In 2012, about 80% of Boomers used the Internet regularly, according to the Pew Research Center. Smartphone ownership and use among Baby Boomers stood at 54% in 2014.

Boomers are early adopters of the latest gadgets, including tablets, smart wearables and other tech products, according to a PC World article.

2. Boomers just do it.
Many Boomers strive to stay in shape, from avid exercisers to weekend warriors. People aged 55 and older now represent nearly 25% of all health club members, according to the American Academy of Health and Fitness.

3. Boomers are big on brands.
Boomers tend to be brand-conscious. Their badge brands include Harley-Davidson, Volkswagen, Noxzema, the Beatles, Pepsi, Absolut Vodka, Saturday Night Live, Facebook, Coach, Levi's, Club Med, L'eggs, Frye Boots and Clairol, according to CNBC.

4. Boomers want value.
Boomers want the most bang for their buck and go after value-added products and services that pile on the extras without costing extra.

5. Boomers take stock.
Many retiring boomers prefer to handle their own money and investments. To facilitate direct investing, money managers have created products and services from annuities to asset management.

6. Boomers are homebodies.
Many boomers are upgrading their homes, downsizing, buying vacation homes and purchasing investment properties, according to CBS News.

7. Boomers delegate.
Today's boomers buy products and services that make home life easier. Do-it-yourself (DIY) boomers who once handled their own home repairs and renovations are now letting someone else do it, giving rise to the "do-it-for-me" market.

8. Boomers are kings of the road.
While many baby boomers are or will be retiring soon, that doesn't mean that they plan to give up their car keys anytime soon. Auto industry experts expect that baby boomers will trade in their company sedans and commuter cars for a wide range of vehicles, from crossover utility vehicles to sports and muscle cars to hybrids.

9. Boomers are travel buffs.
Boomers view travel as a necessity and not a luxury. Boomers with the travel bug account for 80% of travel spending.

10. Boomers are what they eat.
While most baby boomers will probably never give up hamburgers, many boomers are eating healthier and smarter, opting for foods that are good for the brain and the body.

11. Boomers get back into the dating game.
About 23% of men and 35% of women aged 55 to 64 are widowed, divorced, separated or never married, according to census data. Not surprisingly, then, baby boomers are a key target for the $2 billion dollar dating services industry. Online dating services are particularly popular among silver surfers.

12. Boomers crave information.
Boomers pay attention to ads about products and services and go online to find out more about those products and services. Fifty-seven percent of boomers searched online for an item they saw on television.

13. Boomers shop online.
Baby boomers have wholeheartedly embraced e-commerce. Seventy-two percent of older boomers shop online, while two thirds of baby boomers and other older adults bought from online businesses, representing an average of $7 billion in annual sales. Several online businesses have boomers on their radar, such as Amazon's 50+ Active and Healthy Living Store.

14. Boomers are sharers.
Many boomers have preened their social media presence. According to the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, the number of people aged 65 and older who use social networking sites has nearly tripled, from 13% during 2009 to 43% during 2013. The same survey found that six out of 10 Internet users aged 50 to 64 use social networking sites, while 43% of those ages 65 and older do.

15. Boomers are reshaping retirement living.
Many baby boomers don't see themselves living in assisted-living facilities, but instead in high-end senior communities. Many developers are building independent living communities that are ultramodern and include the latest amenities and services, such as state-of-the art entertainment areas, fitness centers and even dog parks, The Wall Street Journal reported.

If you're like many baby boomers, you possess an unfailing optimism about the future, while also waxing nostalgic about the past. To demonstrate, classic muscle cars have made a comeback, and, for better or worse, oversized shoulder pads in garments have re-emerged.