If you think you’re seeing more RVs on the road and filling up campgrounds this year, that’s because you are.
Low gas prices, low interest rates and low inflation have all helped boost RV sales to record highs in the second quarter of 2015. Today, more than nine million households call themselves “RVers” (or at leas own one) – the highest level ever recorded and a 16% increase since 2001, says the RV Industry Association (RVIA).
According to the RVIA:
- Recreational vehicle shipments totaled 105,579 in the second quarter of 2015, the highest level in any quarter since the second quarter of 2006.
- Altogether, about 373,700 RV sales are expected to happen in 2015 – that’s 4.7 percent more than 2014, and the highest level since before the great recession.
And the news keeps getting better. According to the experts at Nadaguides.com, who report that “2016 is on track to set a new record for RV shipments, even greater than those set in 2006.” The RVIA says total shipments will go beyond 383,100, a gain of 2.5% over 2015.
Baby Boomers Spur RV Sales
Economics dictates that low gas prices don’t always translate to good times. Usually falling pump prices mean that job cuts are happening somewhere in the nation, which causes people to delay discretionary purchases. However the RV industry isn’t panicking.
“We’re in the midst of the largest expansion of the market for new RVs in our lifetimes. Approximately 11,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day until 2029,” Mac Bryan, vice president of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association in Reston, Virginia, said in a recent forecast.
The most popular RVs purchased this year? Travel trailers, followed closely by Class C motor homes. NADAGuides says the most popular travel trailer consumers researched online in 2015 are Keyston, Jayco and Dutchmen.
For Class C motor homes, Coachman and Four Winds led the way with Winnebago in the number one spot. Winnebago Industries, had an 18 percent sales increase in 2014 after a 40 percent increase in 2013.
Toy haulers are another popular choice. Tim Wegge, president of an RV dealership in southeastern Wisconsin, told the Detroit News, “Oddly enough, we are not seeing big families buying them and hauling dirt bikes and four wheelers to races, although that’s been done. We are seeing retirees buying them to haul their Harleys and golf carts. It kind of took us by surprise,” Wegge said.
The uptick in RV sales translates to great news for RV park campgrounds too. Kampground of America’s 2015 North American Camping Report predicted that in the 2015 camping season, a majority of campers (53%) plan to spend more nights camping, and almost half (48%) plan to take more trips.
Often called “The O.G. of full-time RVing,” Rene Agredano and her husband Jim Nelson hit the road in a fifth wheel trailer in 2007, after their dog Jerry lost a leg to terminal cancer. Sixteen years later they are still traveling and sharing their nomadic adventures at LiveWorkDream. As a self-employed wordsmith, Rene shares her expertise for many RV industry videos, publications such as the Escapees RV Club Magazine, and has authored numerous books, including the Essential RVing Guide to National Parks, and Income Anywhere, a guide to earning money on the road. She has been featured in global media outlets including the PBS documentary “NATURE: Why We Love Cats and Dogs,” The Guardian Sunday Edition, and the Dan Pink book Free Agent Nation.
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