If the last two years have taught us anything, they have taught us that the things we take for granted can change at the drop of a hat. Our everyday lives have been turned upside down. The RV industry has also had some big changes, and you may be wondering: Where does the RV industry stand right now?
Here are some current stats on who owns RVs (it might not be who you think), and what is going on in the market today.
Until recently, it was estimated that about 9 million households in the United States owned an RV. However, a recent study by the RV Industry Association (RVIA) showed that there as many as 11.2 million households that currently own RVs. Another interesting finding: this lifestyle, once thought to be enjoyed predominantly by retired people, is gathering younger fans. Ownership is now split evenly between owners over 55 and those below 55 years old. The average age of RVers has declined over the last several years. The average RVer today is married and 49 years old. Average household income has stayed relatively the same at $62,000 per year, but, clearly, younger folks are finding their love for RVing. As Millennials and Gen Zers, from ages 18-34 years old, continue to find their love for RVing, we believe that age will continue to decrease.
Let’s take a look at what we know from experience over the last several years.
The current world predicament (COVID-19) has pushed more people into RVing. Many people are turning to RVing because they are facing limited travel options and looking for a safe way to get out and about. The result has been a boom for the RV industry.
Certainly, the new push of ownership will have a lasting impact on the RV industry itself. But how long will it last? It’s estimated that 9.6 million households intend to buy an RV within the next five years. It should be noted that many of those households, already own an RV. But it means there will be strong demand for new and used RVs as far as we can see in the future.
Plain and simple, people feel more comfortable controlling their own airspace, keeping socially distanced, and just enjoying the great outdoors. It is estimated that over 40 million Americans go camping on a yearly basis.
For those of us who RV frequently, we already know the answer to this question. But it goes beyond the regular answer of “I just like to travel.” You see, not everyone can afford to just pack up and take their family on a trip to Europe or even Disney. The good news about RVing is that there really is an option at every price point. The family of four with a $10,000 budget for a travel trailer can explore and see the same things as a retired couple with enough life savings to live comfortably in their Class A diesel pusher.
The flexibility of RVing and being able to pack up and hit the road on a whim is a plus, too. No longer do you have the logistical headache of booking flights, finding hotels, and boarding your pet. Your RV or the truck with which you pull it is your airplane; your RV is your hotel; and Fluffy (your pet) can come along with you. The flexibility that RVing offers is unmatched and quickly becoming appealing to many who are finding this out.
Lastly, from an affordability standpoint, some have suggested that when compared to other ways of travel, RVing can save you anywhere between 20-60% per trip. Those cost savings alone make RVing more appealing.
(Statistics from RVIA )
Buying/Selling RV Market
We are living the good old days of RV sales in real time. Over the last two years, we have seen an increase in disposable income for various reasons. This, and a global pandemic, have driven more people than ever to look into alternate modes of travel. The increased interest in RVing has influenced the RV sales numbers across the board.
We all know about supply and demand; with that higher demand comes the opportunity to capitalize if you are considering selling what you currently own. With the selling market as solid as it is right now, the time is right to move your RV.
Industry experts are seeing no slowdown in sight. Kevin Tadlock, president of National Vehicle, shared some insight into why it’s still a great time to sell. “As the RV season is just ramping up, so are the sales. The seasonal slowdown seen in Q4 of most years wasn’t experienced in the last quarter of 2021, and things have only picked up since the start of the new year,” he said. “We expect this trend to continue as more and more people develop a love for RVing.”
On the buying side, patience is key. The good deals may not be around every corner, but you can still find great RVs for sale. If you want to buy, do your research so you know what you want, and get your finances lined up. There are a lot of RVs changing hands, but when you find what you want, you will need to move quickly. Be open minded to traveling for the best deal, as the RV you are looking for at the price point you want may not be in your area.
Bottom line: amid the changing demographics and life disruptions, the RV industry is poised for continued growth, and I encourage you to go and enjoy the great life that RVing can offer.
Kevin Tadlock is president of National Vehicle in Omaha, Nebraska. He is an avid outdoorsman and spends all the time he can with his wife and two daughters experiencing nature. He loves RVs and has spent the last 15 years helping buyers and sellers find each other without paying for a dealer or broker.
National Vehicle is an RV marketing firm in Omaha, Nebraska; for more information click here!