The term “millennial” is tossed around a lot these days, and often with a negative connotation. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are typically born between the years 1980 and 1999. This would put them between the ages of 19 and 38 as of 2018.
This generation spans 20 years and its older members use a combination of face-to-face communication and computer-mediated communication, while its younger members use mainly electronic and digital technologies. Do not think negatively of Millennials, embrace them! They are the future of our economy. Here’s why:
- Most racially and ethnically diverse generation ever
- Care about social causes
- Most educated generation in history
- More interested in experiences than goods
Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce with a massive spending power of around $200 billion dollars a year. Our economy has come a long way since the Great Recession. Consumer confidence is improving and multiple industry markets are reaping the benefits.
Two huge RV manufacturers have seen stock growth of over 40% in the past year. Overall, the industry as a whole has seen eight consecutive years of growth. Those are incredible numbers.
Manufacturers are expecting to ship nearly half a million RVs in 2018. Even more encouraging though, is the age of the buyers. Younger enthusiasts looking for a cheap, versatile vacation are largely driving sales growth. It is no longer just retirees looking to cross-country travel in giant Class As. Lower gas prices and better interest rates mean more Americans than ever are looking to buy an RV.
Millennials travel 30% more than previous generations and view vacations as a way of life, not a treat. Having an RV makes it easier to take more frequent trips and disappear on weekend getaways. Most RVs are used for numerous weekend getaways, maybe five or six trips a year, with one longer trip mixed in.
While Millennials can’t necessarily cut fat checks yet, they are willing to spend more on products and services that match their lifestyle. This fits hand-in-hand with the RV industry growth. Manufacturers have seen increased sales in smaller trailers that can be towed by an SUV as well as compact Class B motorhomes that can be easily driven by anyone.
Travel trailers now count for nearly 90% of all units sold. Large portions of these buyers are Millennials, young couples who don’t have kids yet. Millennials are only 31% of the total population, but they make up 38% of those camping.
Manufacturers are certainly noticing this trend. More entry-level models are becoming available that are inexpensive, lightweight, and a great starting ground. RVs are also being updated with new technology and features. A lot of RVs are compatible with phones and apps to run different components of your trailer, like your AC or awning. There can also be full access to TV, WiFi, and other modern amenities that the younger generation is accustomed to always having available.
Millennials have officially overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest living generation. This younger generation has completely changed the way we use the Internet, watch shows, and eat avocados. It only makes sense that they are changing the recreational vehicle industry too.
Honestly, it is a good thing. We are getting to see impressive changes that RVs have needed for a while now. Bring on the Millennials!
Bill Fisher says
The problem is the RV industry in their rush to capitalize on the profits are putting out junk. There are far too many RVs leaving the factories with far too many problems. Total lack of good QC. Don’t believe me? Just go look at about any brand at about any dealer closely. Brand new units sitting at the dealers with poorly hung cabinet doors, trim pieces falling off, doors that do not work correctly, etc., etc..
Couldn’t agree more. I did live the ecxperience more than once and it’s a pain.
Too bad it comes to that, rare are the exception, I did not find it yet.
Absolutely true. The older equipment was better do to a pride and competition. The 2008 and subsequent “recession” and other factors destroyed those items. Honestly staying in a motel, driving a “greener” vehicle, and not having 10 years of RV an insurance payments of $600 monthly for something you use 10 days a year on average or less might be an alternative. That said, my 1983 has been my home for 15 years.
lorraine johnson says
I agree. We bought a brand new 2019 Clipper and our first trip was a disaster. I awoke in the middle of the night with leaks all over. Needless to say we wanted our money back but upgraded to an RV. The dealership made a great deal.
Christopher Munsell says
We absolutely love our Winnebago Travato. Had a 2015 & now a 2020 & the upgrades and quality improvements are significant. And with the discounts dealers are offering, it cost almost the same as our 2015. Love the way Winnebago has listened to owners & made many of the improvements they are looking for. We’ve gone both big and small and love the flexibility of a class B.
Adam W Hegewald says
Because Millennials are building them.
We totally agree with your comment. I’m sure many of us would rather a bit more quality even if that costs them more for the unit.
I’m looking at something used, with the kinks already worked out. Any suggestions? $15-25k range.
David Jarrett says
Look at the mid-2000s Nash and Arctic Fox travel trailers. Extremely well-insulated & well-made.
Michael J Galada says
As stated, I couldnt agree more. What needs to happen is more federal oversight and regulations of the RV industry.
UGH !!, I know how that sounds BUT every single industry that has been de-regulated goes to hell in a hurry.
The consumers are left holding the bag for the sake of corporate profit. There MUST be a middle ground between too much and very little control. As consumers AND drivers on our nations highways WE DESERVE IT !!
Tom Brentlinger says
Yes. It is called “the market”. It punishes bad companies. Secondly, the industry should have standards making organizations. Ultimately, you buy cheap you get cheap. Government rarely improves anything the market already knows. It just Ads cost and time.
It’s nice to see an article about millennials with a positive spin for once.
You can see on Google trends that the ‘recreational vehicles’ topic has been growing year on year for a while now. And with the number of younger folks on YouTube posting vlogs about their RV escapades and ‘vanlife’, I’m not surprised the growth is driven by millennials.
Yep, and their ruining camping for the future. Use to people would go on a trip and come back and tell their friends and relatives about it and that’s as far as it would go. Now because of the web and YouTube and their need for attention, the millennials are telling the world where all these places are. Enjoy them while
you can because it won’t be long before when you show up they’ll be full. I’ve been camping and RVing for 46 years so I’ve been around long enough to see it.
No Spam says
While the article gushes about the “contributions” millennials are making, let’s not forget that they were also a big reason Obama was elected – TWICE. That speaks volumes. Being “ethnically diverse” and “caring about social issues” can bring many adverse consequences, so let’s stay focused on reality. It’s things like those concepts that can move the country in directions it shouldn’t go, if retaining its founding principles is a priority.
Raven Harris says
And, unfortunately, they were the reasons we got that lying buffoon that we currently have in the WH. If you call that a “positive,” I don’t know what you are smoking. Personally, I feel the millennials are pretty conscientious about social issues and the environment. It’s sad to see that the baby boomers or the “hippies” of the 1970s are the ones who are the main supporters of the grifter that currently sit in the WH. So, please…if you are stating that Obama was bad for the Country, then Trump–the demagogue–is bad for the world. He is not “Making America Great Again,” and I am sorry that he is not “making it white again,” which is the true meaning.
Yes that concerns me about them being so interested in social issues. Think they need to change the world, but haven’t lived long enough to understand or appreciate history.
No Spam & Dave – well said!
Agree Agree Agree!!! Don’t throw away history, tradition, and culture just because its not KOOL or NEW! It’s there for a reason, learn from it !!
Nice article. Glad to read something positive instead of the usual “everything that is wrong with our country and political system is the fault of millennials”. Millennials have ruined RV quality and single handedly elected both a blue and red president you don’t like? Do you hear Joe rickles that sounds? We don’t know our history (thanks for the under funded schools) but those of us with history degrees who can’t find jobs are lazy and unworthy of support from society. Of course. Many millennials buy vans and RVs because they cannot afford nice vacations or even home ownership. If you run into a millennial on the road, please appreciate that you both have an enjoyment of traveling in common. We were dealt a pretty tough hand in life and are making the most of it. Sorry that we like avocados?
Joe rickles= ridiculous. Yes, I wrote my comment on a phone. Because I’m a millennial lol
Cheryl Reid says
We agree with the lack of quality in the newer units. We have an Arctic Fox 5th wheel – 2003 27 feet. We look at newer units all the time and still like ours better. Solid cabinets, steel frame, well insulated. Knock on wood, it’s been just great. My only complaint is that after 16 years, the decals are looking a bit shabby. But Camping World RV repair lot is full of new units waiting to be worked on!
I enjoyed the article about the rv industry and learned from it. Also the comments pertaining to quality control, which imo have always been a problem for the industry. Then I read the “political” comments – totally off -topic and gratuitous. Give me a break! I’m of the boomer generation and truly don’t see where no spam is coming from or why he felt compelled to comment.
As a marketer whose primary focus is the Millenial generation, I’d like to offer these tidbits up:
– Millenials are not “18-38”. Millenials are a generation who came of age in the year 2000, thus the name. They would have been 17-21 at Y2K, so average out to be in their late 30’s now. -Not a 20 year span for a generation.
– We have always been an ethnically and racially diverse nation. You may just be noticing now because of progressive shifts in marketing to make sure everyone has an opportunity to see themselves reflected in our culture.
– Millenials are more interested in older and well-crafted than they are in new and plastic. Sustainable manufacturing processes and meaningful design are top priorities. They’re more likely to purchase an old Airstream and renovate than to buy a mammoth laminated “PREDATOR” trailer to pull down the highway at 12mpg.
– Generation X are the people who are buying your products. You might try marketing to them, since no one else does.
Most educated….???? Pllleeeaassee! How MOST DEPENDANT! Generation Y can’t accomplish much without their You-Tube & constant online activities which IMHO has done nothing but made the generation lazy & unable to think independently.
Patti Panuccio says
I am a boomer and a full-time RV fanatic(6 times in my 60 odd years). I think it is time for us old farts to stand aside and let the next generation run things. Let us have more diversity in government and more women in power, smart ones that is, not fox news bimbos. The rv manufactures that survived the last bump in 2008 are still putting out RV’s some good some bad. If we paid a living wage in this country and got a handle on corporate greed we just might get back to when this country put out the finest of everything.
Those that are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.
JR & The Boys says
We made the mistake when purchasing 1st RV to leave from dealer on our trip to Florida. Never again !!! We just purchased our 2nd RV on 4-18-19 and we are camping in a state park 4 mi from dealer waiting for parts to complete warranty repair. Unit “2019 Grand Design” seems to solid but there are a couple small issues that we will have repaired before we leave on our next trip. Thanks to everyone on these various forms for the knowledge you leave when posting. Between “Forms, Campsite Reviews & YouTube” the knowledge just pours out on every post and everyone seems to help one another which is great………… Please “Politics should be on another site”.
For everybody reading this, young and old, if you want a great travel trailer and don’t want to fight the wind, gets great gas mileage when towing it down the road, look at “TrailManor”. I have a 2009 2720QB model and I absolutely love it. I have been in snowy cold weather, rain, high winds, and hot weather. It’s not put together like a typical travel trailer. They have done things outside the box and it has been well thought out mechanically. I have lived in mine and love it. It’s not real fancy, doesn’t have a floor to ceiling refrigerator, beds are surprisingly comfortable and I have a bad back, a/c will run you out also the heater will keep you toasty warm all winter. And when towing you can’t even tell it’s back there, I have to keep checking my rear view mirror to make sure I am still pulling something. Go where they sell them and see for yourself, they are hard to find. Built by the Amish now, so you know quality and satisfaction is #1.
if by the “most educated” generation you actually mean the “most indoctrinated” generation, then i agree completely. they don’t actually “know” anything other than how they “feel”. hence, the caring about social issues. this is very good for lessening racism and a few other social issues. but…they have also been “trained” in who to hate, which leads to all of the division we have in our society. the Gen Z peeps are going to be even worse. people really should be able to discuss differences, but hate prevents that. kinda glad i won’t be around that much longer. 8^)
Ken Westlund says
I think American workmanship in the RV industry can be quite good! My wife and I bought a 2019 Dutchman Kodiak Cub in January 2019 and have made 5 camping expeditions in 2019 (15 nights total so far). Not a lot, but we have not had any significant problems with the camper. It is not an Air Stream (which I would regard the gold standard in terms of quality) but I think there are a lot of quality features in this rig for the money! Actually, after a year-long research, we bought the trailer because we thought it was the best compromise between quality and low cost. Previous to purchasing the Cub, we camped in two pop-up trailers for the past 25 years and are quite familiar with the quality issues that inherently come with RV trailer campers. But the only quality issue that I have in our new Cub is that the tacked-up lighting strip has come down in the basement storage compartment! The Cub is not perfect. There are improvements that we would like to see in the design and functionality of the camper but we have been quite satisfied (actually impressed) with how well the Cub has been constructed. (BTW, this is not a paid advertisement)